July 3, 2012 - Happy Birthday, Strawberries!

On this date in 1806, British market gardener Michael Keens presented to the Royal Horticultural Society the first cultivated strawberry whose size, flavor, and color resembles today's strawberries. Apparently almost all of our current strawberries descend from Keens's fruits.
A modern strawberry

A wild strawberry
Are they berries?

The botanical definition of a berry is that it is a simple fruit with seeds and pulp that comes from a single ovary of a flower. So fruits like blueberries and cranberries are berries.

However, strawberries are not!

Strawberries are called “accessory fruits.” They are unique in that the seeds are tiny and affixed to the outside of the “fruit,” which is not created by a flower ovary but instead by a thickened part of the plant's stem.

(Raspberries, blackberries, and boysenberries are also not true berries; they are “aggregate fruits” that contain seeds from many different flower ovaries. Some botanical berries that don't get called berries include avocados, watermelons, pumpkins, grapes, and bananas!)

Celebrate strawberries!
Here are some ideas. 

Also on this date:

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