Is An apple A berry?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

An apple is not considered a berry. Although it is a fruit, the classification of a berry is based on specific botanical characteristics. Berries are defined as fruits that develop from a single ovary, with the entire pericarp (the wall of the fruit) being fleshy. In the case of an apple, the fleshy part we eat is derived from the receptacle, not the ovary, making it a different type of fruit.

Apples belong to the pome fruit category, along with pears. Pome fruits have a core containing seeds surrounded by a firm, dry, and often slightly mealy flesh. The core of an apple consists of the ovary, which houses the seeds, while the edible part of the fruit develops from the swollen receptacle. This is why the core is not typically consumed.

Interestingly, the apple tree, known as Malus domestica, is a member of the rose family (Rosaceae). This family includes many other fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, but these are not classified as berries either. Instead, they are aggregate fruits, meaning they form from multiple ovaries within a single flower.

Additionally, the term “berry” can be quite confusing when it comes to botanical definitions. Many fruits that we commonly refer to as berries, such as blueberries, pumpkins, oranges, and bananas, do not meet the botanical criteria for being considered true berries. Blueberries, for example, are classified as “true berries” because they develop from a single ovary and have a fleshy pericarp. On the other hand, pumpkins, oranges, and bananas are all classified as berries, even though they differ in their structure and composition.

While an apple is a fruit, it does not fall under the botanical definition of a berry. The classification of fruits can be complex, and it’s fascinating to explore the diverse characteristics and variations among different types of fruits.