We’ve all enjoyed the sweet, juicy taste of fresh strawberries, but have you ever wondered what those tiny white dots on the surface are? Many people mistake them for seeds, but they’re actually a completely different part of the fruit. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at those white dots and uncover the truth behind the misnomer of the strawberry.
The Origin of the Name “Strawberry”
First, let’s delve into the history of the name “strawberry”. Some theories suggest that the name comes from the practice of placing straw around the plants to protect the fruit from the soil. Others believe it’s because the ripe berries look like they’re studded with bits of straw. But regardless of its origin, the name is a bit of a misnomer.
Misnomer means a wrong or inaccurate name or designation. But why the name “strawberry” is a misnomer? Because strawberries aren’t really berries at all. In botany, a berry is a fleshy fruit that is produced from a single flower and contains one ovary. But strawberry doesn’t contain only one ovary. It contains many. Therefore, strawberry is not a true berry.
What are Strawberries?
Strawberries are a type of fruit called “aggregate fruits”. This means that they are made up of many smaller fruits that are fused together. Each small fruit has its own ovary, which develops into an achene. The achenes are then held in place by the fleshy part of the fruit, which is what we eat.
An achene is a small, dry one-seeded fruit that does not open to release the seed. Thus, a single strawberry is actually a fusion of lots of simple fruit with single seed.
What are the White Dots on Strawberries
The white dots that appear on strawberries are actually called achenes. Achenes are small, seed-like structures that are found on the surface of an aggregate fruit. They’re a part of the strawberry’s reproductive system. While they may look like seeds, they are not actually the same thing. Achenes are basically fruits but they’re not fleshy. It doesn’t contain pericarp (exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp). All it contains is the seed which was basically the ovule before pollination. So, achenes are actually the fruit’s ovaries which contain the seeds. Each achene contains a tiny seed inside, which can grow into a new plant.
There are a few common misconceptions about the white dots on strawberries, so let’s clear them up:
- The white dots are not mold or fungus. They’re a natural part of the fruit and are completely safe to eat.
- Removing the white dots won’t affect the taste of the strawberry. In fact, they’re actually a good source of dietary fiber.
- The white dots are not the same as the seeds inside the achene. While the seeds are edible, they’re quite small and crunchy, so most people just eat the flesh of the fruit.
1. Can you plant the achenes from strawberries?
– Yes, you can plant the achenes from strawberries. However, keep in mind that not all achenes will germinate and grow into plants. Also, the resulting plants may not produce fruit that is identical to the parent plant. Most of the strawberrry plants aren’t grown from achenes. They are grown from “runners” of stolon.
2. Do all strawberries have achenes?
– Yes, all strawberries have achenes. However, some varieties may have larger or smaller achenes than others. This is purely a matter of genetics and does not affect the taste or nutritional value of the fruit.
3. Are the white dots on strawberries a sign of over-ripeness?
– No, the white dots on strawberries are not a sign of over-ripeness. Achenes are present on strawberries from the time they start to grow until they are fully ripe. The only difference is that as the fruit ripens, the achenes may become more visible.
4. Are the white dots on strawberries harmful?
– Contrary to popular belief, the white dots on strawberries are not harmful. In fact, they are perfectly safe to eat. Achenes are simply a natural part of the fruit and do not contain any harmful substances. They are also rich in nutrients such as fiber and vitamins.
So the next time you bite into a juicy strawberry and notice those little white dots, remember that they’re not seeds, but a part of the fruit’s reproductive system. And while the name “strawberry” may be a misnomer, there’s no denying that this delicious fruit is a favorite among many.