The Structure of the Strawberry

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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An odd feature of the strawberry is its peculiar and unique structure. It is technically known as a ‘false’ or ‘accessory fruit’. The seeds which, unlike those of any other fruit, are on the outside, are the true fruits of the plant. The fleshy ‘berry’ to which they are attached is an enlarged, softened receptacle, corresponding to the small, white cone which remains on the stem of a raspberry when the fruit is picked. (Both fruits belong to the rose family and have the same fundamental form; but the strawberry's cluster of dry fruit seeds is described as an ‘etaerio of achenes’, while the raspberry's cluster of juicy grains is an ‘etaerio of druplets’.)