AskDefine | Define berries

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

berries
  1. Plural of berry

Verb

berries
  1. third-person singular of berry

Extensive Definition

about the fruit
The word berry has two meanings: one based on a botanical definition, the other on common identification. True berries are a simple fruit having seeds and edible pulp produced from a single ovary. In common parlance, however, berries are more broadly recognized as small, round or semi-oblong, usually brightly colored, sweet or sour fruit desirable in a healthy diet.

True berries

In botany, the berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit in which the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp. The flowers of these plants have a superior ovary and one or more carpels within a thin covering and fleshy interiors. The seeds are embedded in the common flesh of the ovary. Examples of botanical berries include the tomato, grape, lychee, loquat, lucuma, plantain, avocado, persimmon, eggplant, guava, uchuva (ground cherry), and chili pepper.

Modified berries

The fruit of citrus, such as the orange, kumquat and lemon, is a modified berry called a hesperidium.
The fruit of cucumbers and their relatives are modified berries called "pepoes". A plant that bears berries is referred to as bacciferous.
True berries are distinguishable from false berries like blueberries and cranberries for which the fruit is formed from other parts of the flower, not just the ovary. Also not true berries, aggregate fruits like raspberries are collections of small fruits, and accessory fruits like strawberries are formed from parts of the plant other than the flower. As explained below, none of these is a true berry.

Common usage

In common parlance, berry refers to any small, sweet, juicy and brightly-colored fruit. By contrasting in color with their background, berries are more attractive to animals that eat them, aiding in the dispersal of the plant's seeds. Most berries are edible, but some are poisonous.
Berry colors are due to natural pigments synthesized by the plant. Medical research has uncovered medicinal properties of pigmented polyphenols, such as flavonoids, anthocyanins, and tannins and other phytochemicals localized mainly in berry skins and seeds. Berry pigments are usually antioxidants and thus have oxygen radical absorbance capacity ("ORAC") that is high among plant foods. Together with good nutrient content, ORAC distinguishes several berries within a new category of functional foods called "superfruits", a rapidly-growing multi-billion dollar industry that began in 2005 and is identified by DataMonitor as one of the top 10 food categories for growth in 2008.
A 2007 report combined four criteria — nutrient content, antioxidant qualities, medical research intensity and commercial success — giving an approximate rank of commercial activity for six exotic superfruits, including three berries — wolfberry, sea buckthorn and açaí — as the highest rated.

Not a botanical berry

Many "berries" are not actual berries by the scientific definition, but fall into one of these categories:

External links

berries in Min Nan: Chiuⁿ-kó
berries in Breton: Hugenn
berries in Catalan: Baia
berries in Czech: Bobule
berries in Danish: Bær
berries in German: Beere
berries in Modern Greek (1453-): Μούρο
berries in Spanish: Baya
berries in Esperanto: Bero
berries in French: Baie (botanique)
berries in Ido: Bero
berries in Italian: Bacca
berries in Hebrew: פירות יער
berries in Pampanga: Berry
berries in Georgian: კენკრა
berries in Lithuanian: Uoga
berries in Dutch: Bes (botanisch)
berries in Japanese: ベリー
berries in Norwegian: Bær
berries in Norwegian Nynorsk: Bær
berries in Narom: Chérîthe
berries in Polish: Jagoda (botanika)
berries in Portuguese: Baga
berries in Romanian: Bacă
berries in Russian: Ягода
berries in Simple English: Berry
berries in Finnish: Marja
berries in Swedish: Bär (botanik)
berries in Ukrainian: Ягода
berries in Chinese: 浆果
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