Why Technically Bananas Are Berries But Strawberries Aren’t

When we think of berries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries often come to mind. Surprisingly, bananas don’t typically make the list. However, from a botanical standpoint, bananas are classified as berries, while strawberries are not. This fascinating discrepancy stems from the botanical definitions and classifications of fruits.

What Defines a Berry?

In botanical terms, a berry is a type of simple fruit with seeds and pulp produced from the ovary of a single flower. To qualify as a berry, a fruit must meet specific criteria:

  1. Develop from a Single Ovary: The fruit must develop from the ovary of a single flower.
  2. Fleshy Pericarp: The entire pericarp (the part of the fruit formed from the ovary wall) must be fleshy.
  3. Contain One or More Seeds: Berries contain seeds embedded in the flesh.

Why Bananas Are Berries

Bananas fit these criteria perfectly:

  • Single Ovary: Bananas develop from a single ovary.
  • Fleshy Pericarp: The entire banana is fleshy, with no hard parts other than the seeds.
  • Seeds: Though the seeds in cultivated bananas are small and not fully developed, they are present.

Thus, by botanical standards, bananas are indeed berries.

Why Strawberries Are Not Berries

Strawberries, on the other hand, do not meet the botanical criteria for berries:

  • Multiple Ovaries: Strawberries develop from a flower with multiple ovaries. Each tiny seed on the surface of a strawberry is an individual ovary, making strawberries an aggregate fruit.
  • Accessory Fruit: In addition to the ovaries, strawberries incorporate other parts of the flower in their development, specifically the receptacle (the thickened part of a stem from which the flower organs grow), which becomes the fleshy part we eat.

The Misconceptions and Common Use

The confusion arises because the common use of the word “berry” does not align with the botanical definition. Many fruits we casually call berries, like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are not true berries. Meanwhile, fruits like bananas, kiwis, and even tomatoes are botanically classified as berries.

Other Surprising Botanical Berries

  • Tomatoes: Often mistaken for vegetables, tomatoes are berries because they develop from a single ovary and contain multiple seeds.
  • Kiwis: These fruits meet all the botanical criteria for berries.
  • Grapes: Like bananas, grapes develop from a single ovary and are fleshy throughout.


Understanding why bananas are berries and strawberries are not highlights the intriguing and sometimes counterintuitive nature of botanical classification. It reveals the complexity and diversity of fruit development and challenges our everyday perceptions of the fruits we consume. So next time you enjoy a banana, remember you’re technically eating a berry, and appreciate the nuanced wonders of botanical science.

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