Are Grapes Berries or Fruits

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Many people who love wine and grape juice have a similar question – are grapes berries? The question should be a simple one, but it requires a bit of explanation.

Are Grapes Berries?

By the formal botanical definition, grapes are considered berries since the firm definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit without a stone that is produced from a single flower containing one ovary. That being said, a berry is not supposed to have a stone, whereas some grapes do have a hard, inedible pit. This small distinction is why most people say that grapes are their own type of simple fruit, but the classification for berries (as well as the names) can often be misleading.

A basket of green grapes on a wooden table

For example, blackberries and strawberries are also considered berries – and contain the word “berry” in their name – but they don’t align with the botanical definition of what a berry must be. Berries can contain one or many seeds, and since the “seed” in the center of grapes is not technically a stone, it is classified as a berry.

What Kind of Fruit is a Grape?

As hard as it may be to accept, a grape is a type of berry, but it is rarely regarded as one. The family of plants to which grapes belong is Vitaceae, and all of the plants within this family of plants produce berry-like fruits. That being said, there is no “berry” genus, nor a firm phylogenic description of what a berry must be. Bananas, tomatoes, and kiwi are also technically grapes, by this definition. Taxonomic classifications are not always accurate and do change at times throughout history. For now, however, grapes are considered berries, if you ask a botanist!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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