Berries are fruits that often look like they are edible, but they can fool us. Even so, their touch, their color, their shape, even the plants that produce them have very interesting characteristics, and although we cannot always taste them, this does not mean that they are not perfect for growing in gardens or terraces.
But what are the plants that produce berries called? And, which are the ones that can be consumed without running any risk?
What kind of fruits are berries?
We will start at the beginning. Berries in botany are simple fleshy fruits that have a rounded shape. The skin that covers them, called the epicarp, is smooth and very thin; and its pulp (the mesocarp) is fleshy and sometimes edible . The latter protects the seeds, which can be more or less small depending on the species.
Although they are very similar, you have to differentiate the berries from the fruits of the forest . In many countries the same word is used for both, but not in Spanish. And is that for example strawberries are fruits of the forest, but not berries; On the other hand, grapes are berries, but not fruits of the forest. What is the difference?
Well, it is the following: berries are simple fruits, but for example strawberries are made up of multiple achenes (an achene is a fruit that derives from the fertilized ovary, that does not open when its development ends, and that contains seeds not attached to the skin or pericarp that covers it) with an ovoid shape embedded in the flower receptacle , which becomes fleshy when mature.
Several types are distinguished:
- Simple berries : like grapes or tomato.
- Polibayas : they are fruits that merge, as it happens with the custard apple.
- Peponid berries : these are berries whose skin or peel is thicker, so that the pulp remains juicy for more days. In the past they were called false berries. For example, we have watermelon, melon, cucumber or pumpkin.
- Modified berries : such as orange, lemon or mandarin, among others.
Other plants that produce berries
There are many, many plants whose fruits are berries. If you want to know some, here is a small selection:
Goji berries ( Lycium barbarum )
Goji, known as Goji berries or Goji cherries, is an evergreen shrub that reaches a height and width of 2-3 meters. Its flowers are pink or purple, but without a doubt what stands out the most are its fruits: ovoid, and red or orange. They are consumed once dried .
Eggplant ( Solanum melongena )
The eggplant is an annual herbaceous plant, but frost – free climates can live more than a year. Their stems are between 30 and 200 centimeters long, and they tend to branch a lot. The fruits are edible berries between 5 and 30 centimeters in length, with smooth skin and white, purple, black, or variegated. They are consumed as a vegetable, either in stews, pasta or others, and always cooked.
The most popular pumpkins are produced by plants of the genus Cucurbita. These are climbers or creepers, with an annual cycle, whose growth is very fast. They bloom in spring-summer, and their fruits ripen in autumn-winter. These are consumed fresh or cooked generally ; they are also widely used to make purees and sauces.
Persimmon ( Diospyros kaki )
The persimmon is a deciduous tree leaf grows to 30 meters. Its leaves are large, measuring up to 18 centimeters long by up to 9 centimeters wide. It blooms in spring, and its fruits ripen in autumn-winter. These are globose, orange or reddish berries with a sweet taste that are great to serve as a dessert. Jams are also made with them.
Cherry ( Prunus avium )
The cherry tree is a deciduous tree that reaches 30 meters in height. In addition to producing white flowers in spring, it is highly prized for its fruits: these are spherical, about a centimeter in diameter, and are blackish-red when ripe. Its flavor is slightly acidic, and they can be consumed raw (of course, keep in mind that the seed is poisonous if ingested).
The guava are edible berries produced by evergreen trees usually grow between 2 and 12 meters. The trunk tends to twist over time, measuring about two feet in diameter when it reaches adulthood. It blooms in spring, and its fruit ripens in summer-autumn . It has a sweet taste, and it usually contains many small seeds.
Hairy honeysuckle ( Lonicera xylosteum )
This is a type of honeysuckle that produces poisonous red berries . It is a deciduous shrub that reaches a height of up to 3 meters. It develops branching stems from which green, elliptical, ovate or obovate leaves sprout. The flowers are whitish or yellowish-white, and sprout in spring. The fruits ripen in autumn, and are globose, reddish-brown to yellowish in color.
Do you know any other plants that produce berries?