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“Why perform strawberries have actually their seed on the outside, instead of ~ above the inside?” that was the question one of my daughters inquiry recently. I had actually no idea, for this reason I reached out to kris Gunter, an combine professor of horticultural scientific research at NC State. And also the price surprised me.
First off, strawberries don’t store their seeds external their fruit. Those things we think of as strawberry seeds aren’t seeds – and the big, red strawberry “fruit” no technically a fruit.
In “true” fruits, favor peaches*, a flower is pollinated and then the flower’s ovary swells and becomes the fruit, through the particle or seed in the middle.
Not so with strawberries.
When a strawberry flower is pollinated, the fruit no swell. The fertilized ovaries in the flower kind separate, small, dried fruits. Those “seeds” ~ above the exterior of a strawberry are actually the fruits, each of which contains a single seed.
The ripe, red, fleshy part that us think of together the strawberry “fruit” is actually swollen receptacle tissue – the part of the plant that associated the flower come the stem. Once a strawberry flower is pollinated, that triggers the receptacle tissue to grow and change.
But the still doesn’t answer the question, it just alters it a little. Why are the small, dried fruits located on the outside of the red, sweet point that we all favor to eat?
The short answer is that we don’t really understand which evolutionary forces caused the strawberry to build the means that the did.
However, Gunter notes, “there space a few fundamental factors why plants have actually evolved various kinds the fruits. One factor is to lure something the spreads seeds.”
A good example is the avocado. Scientists believe the avocado, v its huge wood-like seed, progressed to be consumed by enormous animals that lived countless years ago. Among these pets would chow under on part avocados and also either leaving partially-eaten fruit (and that is seed) nearby, or the seed would pass every the method through the animal and be left behind in that is waste. Because those giant beasts room no much longer with us, avocados are now dependent on person intervention to spread their seeds.
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“A second evolutionary strategy is for plants to find ways for your fruit come disperse on your own,” Gunter says. “For example, they might fly in the wind, favor a dandelion, or be relocated by the water, like a coconut.”
The 3rd option is because that a tree to uncover ways because that a fruit come deter animals from eat it. “For example, the gingko fruit smells putrid,” Gunter says. “The goal there is because that the fruit to not acquire eaten, so the the seed have the right to rely top top the fruit’s nutrients to support its growth.”
Presumably, the strawberry went for evolutionary option number one – attract something to spread out the seeds. However we don’t know the specifics.
*Note: The example for a true fruit was initially an apple. And then who told me that apples space not true fruits either. In fact, lock belong come a group dubbed pseudo-carps, or false fruits. That’s since the part we think of together the fruit is make from tree parts various other than the ovary. And also – surprise – the fleshy component of an apple is also made of the receptacle tissue. In other words, it to be just about the worst example I might have assumed of to hold up together the alternate to a strawberry. However now I understand that – and also so perform you!