WTF Fun Fact 13504 – The Dots on Strawberries

What are the dots on strawberries? You might believe they’re seeds, but you’d be wrong.

It’s not just the layperson who’s been fooled. Even certain educational platforms have, over the years, inadvertently misinformed generations into believing that strawberries carry their seeds on the outside. The truth, however, is far more intriguing.

The small dotted entities on strawberries are known as “drupelets.” But these do contain seeds.

Strawberry Drupelets

Now, the concept of a drupelet can be somewhat counter-intuitive. Each of these tiny fruits contains an actual seed. So, when you look at a strawberry, you’re essentially looking at a collective of multiple fruits.

The evolutionary strategy that led strawberries to develop this unique external fruit-bearing method is fascinating.

The external drupelets potentially increase the chances of seed dispersion. The strawberry’s vibrant red coloration acts as a visual cue for animals, signaling ripeness and inviting consumption. When animals eat these fruits, the seeds within the drupelets get dispersed in the environment, ensuring the strawberry plant’s survival and proliferation.

We’ve Been Misled about the Dots on Strawberries

The strawberry, despite its unique botanical makeup, has earned its place in various cultures worldwide. Its iconic appearance and misinterpreted “seeds” have inspired art, literature, and even fashion. This misrepresentation, while innocent, makes one ponder how many other natural elements we might have misread or misunderstood.

Modern commercial strawberry production seldom concerns itself with the seeds inside the drupelets, as they propagate strawberries using runners, ensuring consistent fruit quality. However, understanding the strawberry’s unique structure has implications for genetic research and potential breeding programs.

By diving deep into the genetic makeup of the actual seeds, scientists could unlock new strawberry varieties or even develop strains more resistant to pests and diseases.

Beyond Strawberries

Strawberries aren’t the only fruits that challenge our conventional understanding. The raspberry, similar in its external seed presentation, also relies on drupelets. Pineberries, which are a blend between strawberries and pineapples in taste, carry the same deceptive exterior. It’s a testament to nature’s ability to consistently surprise and challenge our knowledge.

As the true nature of strawberry “seeds” becomes more widely known, it becomes imperative to adjust educational materials. This ensures future generations have accurate information. Such discoveries, though seemingly minute, underscore the importance of continuous learning and the revision of established knowledge bases.

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Source: “These White Dots On Strawberries Are Not Strawberry Seeds” — IFL Science