15 August 2012

Strawberry Mystery

In early August I took these photos of one of our strawberry plants at St. Anne's. You can see that the seeds on the outside of the two berries appear to be sprouting! I have never seen this before and have tried to research it on the web but have come up empty handed. The berries are clearly immature, and the conditions were not necessarily favorable to sprouting the seeds either. Not to mention the fact that strawberry plants reproduce themselves with runners, not typically by seed.

In trying to find an explanation for this event, I did come upon some interesting strawberry facts. Strawberries are not true berries in the botanical sense. They are technically known as an "aggregate accessory fruit". Courtesy of Wikipedia, this means that the red, fleshy, ripened part we call the strawberry fruit is not actually the ovary as in true fruit, but only the part that holds the ovaries. This means that those seeds one sees on the outside of the strawberry are the true fruits (ovaries) and they hold a very small seed inside each of them.

Strawberries are close relatives of the rose.

If anyone knows why our strawberry seeds sprouted, please let me know!