A Random Look at Some Interesting Plant Myths and Facts.

Firstly, here's an article by Ronan O'Sullivan, on the mix-up of berries and other garden produce...

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!

Squash and Friends

A courgette is a zucchini is a gourd is a pumpkin is a squash.

Actually they are all members of the huge Cucurbita genus, but from different families... except, here goes:

Courgettes, called thusly by the French and English, while the Italians and North Americans say zucchini, for what is really a baby marrow that is a member of the pumpkin family. Courgettes, zucchini, and marrow are fruit from the same plant — just picked at different stages in their growth.

Courgettes are baby fruit of up to 150mm long, that become zucchini at between 150mm and 200mm, and marrows when allowed to reach maturity at up to 500mm long. Got it!

Tree potatoes?

The potato is not a root, it is actually a modified stem. The eyes are lateral buds, so that when these sprout, it's the same thing a tree does when it grows branches.

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