Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Life

Unhinged Science: You Think You Know Your Berries?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Berries. A weird category of fruits with many misleading possible categorizations. People usually assume that if the name has “berry” in it, it must be a berry…right? Well, not quite. There are some weird fruits, and even some veggies, that fall into the “berry” category that you may have not expected. So, instead of just telling you about these weird categories and fruits, I’ve devised a fun little game to see how well you know your berries, and to teach you some very weird fruit facts.

In botany, the definition of a berry is as follows: “A berry is a fleshy fruit without a stone (pit) produced from a single flower containing one ovary.” Based on this definition, and your own knowledge, do you think you’d be able to tell what fruits (or vegetables) are considered berries? Keep reading to put your berry knowledge to the ultimate test, and don’t forget to keep track of your answers, as the correct answers will be at the bottom of this article. 

First, I’ll give you more berry identification facts so this can be a fair game. A berry has seeds and pulp (called the pericarp) that develop from the ovary of a flower. Berries often have an edible skin (exocarp) but not always, and an edible fleshy interior (mesocarp) like the white part inside an apple. There is also a membrane surrounding the seeds (endocarp) that we often don’t see, as it’s very thin. This is where it gets confusing. Berries generally have thin endocarps and fleshy pericarps, but these rules aren’t rigid and some fruits classified as berries don’t follow them. Remember: keep the botanical definition of a berry in mind. Without further ado, let the berry game begin!

NUMBER ONE: Watermelon.

Identified as part of the cucurbitaceae family, this long and tough skinned fruit is a summer snack staple in most households, but is it specifically a berry? Guess now and don’t forget to keep track! 

NUMBER TWO: Strawberries. 

Now, it may be deceiving since the word “berry” is in the name, but is that clue really true? These small, sweet fruits are an amazing snack with a sprinkle of sugar on an outdoor picnic, but can we be sure they’re really berries? Take a guess and hope for the best. 

NUMBER THREE: Pumpkins.

These vegetables throw me right into the festive fall season. Pumpkins are a type of gourd, which have two categories: hard skinned (lageneria), and soft skinned (cucurbita). These help us separate different types of gourds. 

Fruit fact: a watermelon is also a gourd! 

NUMBER FOUR: Bananas. 

These long yellow fruits might just be a regular fruit, but how can you be sure? The peelable, tropical grown fruits are a soft, sweet, and delectable light snack. But the most important part: do you think they’re berries, or not? 

NUMBER FIVE: Cranberries. 

These tart little suckers pack a real punch when juiced, and are a great baking staple (especially in scones). Another fruit with “berry” in the name, but do they follow the rules, or are they one of the trick fruits too?

Fruits can be deceiving, but the weirder stuff you learn about them, the more random facts you’ll have for your friends! Some honorable mentions that weren’t included in this game include: cherries (not a berry), blackberries (not a berry), cucumbers (is a berry), and grapes (is a berry). Hopefully you learned a cool new fruit fact from this game, and if you got any of these questions correct, crown yourself the berry master! 

Stay tuned for when the answers are revealed in a companion article, out Thursday, March 17th!

Zelia Piasentin

UWindsor '25

Hi :) My name is Zelia Piasentin and I am a Psychology major at the University of Windsor! I haven't fully decided on my post-grad career, but I want to help others in any way I can. Some of my hobbies include reading, writing, painting, and creating letters for my pen pal. I also love camping and going for walks with my dog! You can find me on Instagram @zeliapiasentin, I'm always open to new friends!!