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Why do strawberries have their seeds on the outside?

close up of strawberry
Photo credit: David Lenker. Image shared under a Creative Commons license.

“Why do strawberries have their seeds on the outside, instead of on the inside?” That was the question NC State writer Matt Shipman’s daughter asked recently. Having no idea, he reached out to Dr. Chris Gunter, an associate professor of horticultural science and Extension specialist at NC State. And the answer was surprising.

First off, strawberries don’t keep their seeds outside their fruit. Those things we think of as strawberry seeds aren’t seeds – and the big, red strawberry “fruit” isn’t technically a fruit.

In “true” fruits, like apples, a flower is pollinated and then the flower’s ovary swells and becomes the fruit, with the seeds in the middle.

Not so with strawberries. Read more in Shipman’s article on the NC State University Abstract.