What is a Berry?
When we think of a berry we often think of raspberries, strawberries and even blackberries. In true botany these are actually not berries.
Really? So what is a berry?
In Botany, a berry is a fleshy fruit that has many seeds. Now for the interesting fact. Bananas, grapes and tomatoes are classified as berries.
Berries are classified into two different groups namely hesperidium and pepos. Fruits in the hesperidium category are the leathery-rinded berry of citrus fruits. The elongated tough-skinned fruit of the family Cucubitaceae, which includes watermelons, cucumbers and gourds are then referred to as pepos.
Cranberries and Blueberries are true botanical berries. Raspberries, strawberries and blackberries are actually called aggregate fruits – these fruits consist of a number of smaller fruits.
We tend to call any small fleshy fruit a berry, especially if is edible.
In botany a berry is classified by having three distinct fleshy layers; the exocarp (outer ski), mesocarp (fleshy middle) and endocarp (innermost part of the fruit which holds the seeds).
Take for instance grapes. The outer skin is the exocarp with the fleshy middle being the mesocarp. Then the endocarp would be the jelly like insides holding the seeds.
This same layered structure can be found in bananas and watermelon. Another classification for a berry is to have two or more seeds. Thus a cherry fails to comply with this group but is actually called a drupe. These are fleshy fruit with a thin skin and a central stone containing a seed.
This is truly confusing, as it seems we have been taught wrong. Well, whether it is a fruit or a berry or even a vegetable, from a drupe to even an aggregate fruit, you will most certainly find all these exciting plants in our nursery.
Just like many of you, I am quite surprised to learn that the banana is actually a berry. Don’t worry, that does not change the taste of the fruit.
If you want to grow a tropical fruit with ease, then this is perfect for your garden. You can even grow this in a pot.
The Grand Nain variety is resistant to most diseases and can even withstand strong winds. In order to stimulate the growth of the leaves, simply remove any damaged or worn leaves.
When you are ready for a braai wrap your meat in the leaves for some great flavour. There is seriously no end to the benefits of this (berry) tree.
Yes, another berry. Needless to say, and grapes are also very healthy. Just one serving of grapes provide 27% of your daily Vitamin C intake. With over 8000 grape varieties in the world, it can be very difficult to decide on the grapes you want to plant. We do not have all 8000 varieties available but we do have quite a selection you can choose from.
The bunches of barlinka grapes are very dense with a sweet and crispy taste.
The skin is a dark purple with green flesh on the inside. They are harvested from the beginning of March until mid-May.
This is a slip skin variety also known as “glippertjie” in Afrikaans. This means that the skin seperates easily from the fruit.
The catawba has a very sweet taste, which makes it perfect to serve on the table, fresh, as a juice or even a wine.
The crimson grapes has an attractive appearance. The skin colour varies from a pink to a dark pink-red with the flesh being a greenish-white colour.
Biting into these grapes leaves a very satisfying crack with a slight resistance on the skin, making it a bit chewy. This is balanced off with an excellent sweet taste.
These grapes are harvested between January and April.
Red and Green Hanepoot Grapes
Hanepoot grapes are well known for making dessert wines. The skin is smooth and offers a slight resistance when biting into the fruit. The flesh is soft and very sweet giving you a very satisfying muscat flavour. These grapes are harvested in January and February.
If these grapes are appealing to you then visit and select between the red and the green hanepoot. Even adding both will add great flavour to your garden.
Sultana grapes are well known for making wine, drying to make raisins and eating as a snack. No wonder it is referred to as a three-way grape.
This is probably one the most popular table grapes worldwide.
These grapes are very sweet and juicy with a high sugar content. They are well known as being used for making raisins.
The best part about eating seedless grapes are the fact that they contain more juices without that crunch of biting into the seeds.
Sunred grapes will give you large bunches of oval shaped fruit/berries. When biting into these crunchy grapes, they fill your mouth with a very sweet flavour and just that slight acidity to enjoy even more.
These grapes ripen in mid February.
Pomegranates may seem intimidating when you think of getting those little seeds out of the tough skin. Again this is classified as a berry. The ruby red seeds are actually called arils, which refer to the seeds and the juice around it. Not only are they very healthy but the arils can pack a really tart punch to any food, especially a salad. We currently have the following varieties available.
The wonderful pomegranate is one of the most well known varieties available. When you bite into the juicy ruby red arils (seeds) it starts of with a sweet taste. Then like the namesake it explodes with a slight tartness which balances well with the sweetness.
When choosing or picking that ripe pomegranate rather go by weight and not by colour. The heavier the pomegranate, the more juice they contain inside and thus the riper they are. Their skin can vary from a pink to a deep ruby red,
If you happen to have too many fruits, no need to worry. Unopened pomegranates can last on your counter for one month but when put into the refrigerator they can even last up to two months.
This is a superfood for every garden.
Most of us are only aware of the red coloured pomegranates. This variety is very similar in taste also boasting ruby red arils inside, with the only difference being that the skin is a purplish colour.
If you are enjoying you wonderful pomegranate this would be an added bonus to your garden.
Pomegranate trees are also great to grow as hedges as this variety is a smaller bush compared to the wonderful pomegranate.
Spending time in the garden is so rewarding especially when you can harvest your long awaited fruit or berries. Whether you call your banana tree a fruit tree or your strawberry a berry plant, it is always your choice as the fruit will still taste great. Just look after the plants, nurture them and care for them, so that they can produce the fruit you are accustomed to, that is what really matters. Visit our nursery and select those plants you truly want to add into your garden. We also stock excellent soils to plant your trees in.