They’re small and easily consumable, so do cherries actually belong in the berry family?
The Short Answer:
No, cherries are not berries.
The Long Answer:
Cherries make up a wonderful pie filling, they’re amazing on ice cream, and they have the distinction of being my absolute favorite fruit. A lot of people think that because a cherry is small, it must be considered a berry, but that’s not true in the slightest. Cherries are not berries and have virtually nothing in common with berries at all.
Here’s the funny thing about berries, a lot of the fruits that we think are berries are actually not. Technically, fruits like strawberries and raspberries aren’t berries.
So, what then are berries, you might be asking? Good question! I’m glad you asked.
Botanically speaking, a berry is composed of three fleshy layers. The first of these would be the exocarp which is an outer skin. Below that one finds the mesocarp which is a fleshy middle. And below that still comes the endocarp which is the innermost portion of the berry which contains the fruit’s seeds.
So that means bananas and watermelons are technically berries, though one wouldn’t typically classify them as such.
Another huge defining trait of a berry is that it develops from one flower with one ovary. It also must contain at least two or more seeds.
That’s where cherries run into a problem when it comes to berry classification. As you should know if you’ve ever eaten a cherry, it contains one large (relatively speaking) pit or seed.
That’s because cherries belong to a class of fruit known as a drupe, or stone fruit. Drupes are made out of an outer fleshy skin and flesh which surrounds a single seed protected by hardened endocarp.
Some other examples of drupes include dates, mangos, olives, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, and blackberries which are a series of tiny drupes brambled together.
Do you love cherries? What is your favorite kind of berry? What is your favorite kind of drupe? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know.