There is an easy categorization between fruits and vegetables. However, there is still a confusing trail with the numerous classifications of fruits. While people think that fruits that bear berries to their name are considered berries, the truth is that almost some of them are not berries. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are not considered berry—but certain fruits like grapes, oranges, and even bananas are berries.
The classification of fruit’s nomenclature is still confusing up to these days—many plant scientists devise ways to classify fruits according to their appearance. The usual misconception for berries is that they are small, squishy fruits and can be picked on low-level shrubs and trees.
However, science had further expanded the berry’s terminology as part of the fruit family, which gives a clearer view of why bananas are berry. It is classified according to its exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp for the fruit to be considered a berry. For a fruit to become a berry, it must possess the following characteristics: a separate exocarp, an edible mesocarp, and an endocarp containing two or more seeds.
Is Banana A Berry?
As mentioned earlier, a banana is considered a berry, while “berry-bearing” names like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are not. Banana falls precisely on the general nomenclature of a berry. It has a visible exocarp or skin that separates it from the actual fruit. Banana also has an edible mesocarp (the real fruit) and endocarp containing more than two seeds.
In blackberries and raspberries, they only have a single seed located on their core, making them fall away from the berry category. While strawberries have multiple seeds, it has flowers that bear two ovaries. The fruit to be considered under the berry family is supposed to have flowers containing a single ovary. This is why only blueberries fall as an actual berry among the other “berry-bearing” names.
Bananas are considered a fruit and a berry at the same time. This is because fruit is a general clause that describes naturally sweet fruits, has flesh, and the actual “fruit” that comes from a seed-holding structure of a flowering plant. Berries are considered a subcategory for fruit, in which the bananas are botanically classified. To have a more apparent distinction, here is how the fruit kingdom is divided.
- Fruits can be subdivided into two main categories: fleshy fruits and dry fruits. Fleshy fruits are those common fruits that are known for their juicy mesocarp. Dry fruits are those with a rougher texture and can be mixed with other dishes.
- Examples of dried fruits are coconuts, nuts, and legumes. Examples of fleshy fruits are apples, cherries, pineapples, and bananas.
- Fleshy fruits are once again subdivided into three classifications: simple fruits, aggregate fruits, and multiple fruits.
- Simple fleshy fruits also have subcategories, and one of those is berries.
That is why all berries are considered a fruit, while fruits cannot be all considered as berries.
What Makes A Fruit A Berry?
Using the botanical approach to classify fruits, we can infer how bananas and other fruits are classified under the berry subcategory of simple fleshy fruits. In the field of simple fruits, the flowers of its fruit must only bear a single ovary. That is why strawberries aren’t included on the berry list since it has two ovaries inside its flower.
Once the flower’s ovary began to bear its fruit, the structure of the fruit’s seed is classified by these main structures: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp.
- Exocarp is the outer part of the fruit or the actual skin of the fruit. Berries don’t necessarily need to have a thin exocarp. In the case of bananas, it has a soft exocarp.
- Mesocarp is the middle part of the fruit and is considered the edible flesh part of the fruit. Berries must have an edible mesocarp. When you peel the banana’s skin, it will release a whitish-yellow fruit that is edible.
- Endocarp is the inner part of the fruit that covers the seeds. In berries, the endocarp can sometimes be edible and soft enough to unveil two or more sources. Once you’ve bitten a banana, you will be found seeds running through the flesh’s center.
In the botanical sense, raspberries and strawberries are not considered a berry. These fruits are derived from a flower that is bearing two or more ovaries. These fruits fall under the aggregate fruits. In cherries, it has a single seed that is solid—classifying it under the drupe fruits category.
What Fruits Are Berry Too but We Think They Are Not?
While bananas are considered a surprising bunch under the berry subcategory, more fruits is a true berry. They are considered berries with the condition falling under the nomenclature of a botanical berry.
- Tomatoes: While it is mistakenly considered a vegetable, tomatoes are fruits. Another surprising detail about tomatoes is the fact that they fall under the berry category. Tomato flowers only have a single ovary, which can produce a fruit that grows multiple seeds inside.
- Grapes: Grapes are refreshing fruit that can be fermented in wine or dehydrated until it forms raisins or prunes. Grapes fall under the category of berry, and it contains more than four seeds. The seedless variants of grapes will have specks of soft seeds.
- Kiwis: Kiwis are green fruit covered in a fuzzy, brownish-green exocarp. Inside the kiwi is a juicy green flesh that is almost translucent. The center of the kiwi has specks of edible purple-black seeds. This is commonly mixed in salads and other sweet-savory dishes.
- Avocados: While avocados are commonly prepared on savory dishes like guacamole and avocado toast, it is considered a fruit. Avocados grow on a flower with a single ovary. It also has a fleshy pulp and a hard seed located on its center. Avocados can also be served in the form of a sweet shake or eaten with a mix of cream and sugar.
- Guavas: As a tropical fruit, guava can be cultivated in regions around Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. International exportation of guavas was led primarily by India, providing 45% of the guava supply in the global market. Guava falls botanically under the berry subcategory. It has green skin, which skin is varying from white to off-pink.