A Random Look at Some Interesting Plant Myths and Facts.

Firstly let's read Ronan O'Sullivan's article in Science, on the botanical blur of berries and their garden mates...

Puzzled gardener

Often you hear “Did you know that tomatoes are fruits not vegetables!”. It’s much weirder than that. Most people know that tomatoes are fruit, not vegetables. What they don’t know is that they are also berries — fruit with seeds on the inside.


Strawberries and raspberries aren't really berries in the botanical sense. They are derived from a single flower with more than one ovary, making them an aggregate fruit. True berries are simple fruits stemming from one flower with one ovary and typically have several seeds

  • This means that a cucumber is a berry
  • A banana is a berry
  • An aubergine is a berry
  • A strawberry is not a berry — seeds on the outside
  • A raspberry is not a berry — clusters of fruit
  • A blackberry is not a berry — same as above.

It gets worse: there is no such thing as a vegetable in botany — science does not have a definition of “vegetable” that I am aware of.

Vegetables DO have a definition but it’s from tradition, and the law:
In the 1893 United States Supreme Court case Nix. v. Hedden, the court ruled unanimously that an imported tomato should be taxed as a vegetable, rather than as a (less taxed) fruit.

So, if someone tells you that tomatoes are fruit, remember:

  1. There is no such thing as a vegetable
  2. Cucumbers and bananas are berries
  3. Tomatoes are vegetables, not fruit (at least for tax purposes).

See, simple!

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