Strange Seeding Strawberry

One of my garden neighbours has a strawberry that has begun to sprout. Not the plant, the actual strawberry. Neither of us has ever seen anything like it, and I must say it’s a rather strange sight.

Each of the seeds on the outside of the strawberry has a green shoot extending out of it, giving it the appearance reminiscent of a just sprouted Chia Pet. Frankly, it looks quite alien.

Normally, strawberry seeds can only be activated or germinated after they’ve been frozen/wintered.

The key factor in successful germination is the cooling or winterizing of the seeds before planting.”
How to sprout strawberries.

The fact that this one’s seeds all spontaneously sprouted in relatively warm weather is unusual.

I’ve not found anything in my online search travels to explain what happened or whether you can plant the strawberry like this and grow it successfully. If you’ve ever encountered this, I welcome your comments.

23 thoughts on “Strange Seeding Strawberry

  1. Karen

    I also had this happen in my stawberry bed several years ago. I was going to take a picture but the squirrel got it before I found my camera. I just figured it was the one that got away. I also wondered how all the seeds could have sprouted as it was in the middle of July that I found it. Thanks for the picture – nobody would believe it was real otherwise.

  2. Marty Lonsdale

    I also have found four or five strawberries like the one pictured. I have planted one to see if it will grow.

  3. liz gaige Post author

    Hey, let us know if it sprouts. I didn’t have a chance to ask if I do that with the one I photo’d as it was in my neighbour’s garden plot.

  4. Gina Fish

    I also have about 5 or more like this…please let me know what to do with them. We want to plant them if they will turn into plants. We had a cold winter…it hit below freezing at least 10 times…so maybe that was good enough to help them sprout…since it’s nice and hot now.

    I’ve never heard of this…and I can’t seem to find any helpful info. regarding it online.

    Please respond if you hear anything.


  5. liz gaige Post author

    I’m not sure it will grow, but why not give it a try? One fellow who’d grown up on a strawberry farm had never seen anything like it, so I’m not sure very many people have.

  6. Marty

    ~ I planted one of those strange berries and thought you might like an update. All it did was rot. Turned into a blob of white spongy stuff. Back to the old drawing board.

  7. Kathy

    Saw one plant with a few berries like this at a pick-your-own farm near Toronto this weekend. At first I thought the berry was covered in insects but upon closer inspection it turned out to be similar to your photo – Strawberries with green 5 o’clock shadow!

  8. liz gaige Post author

    That’s the perfect description! Strawberry 5 o’clock shadow. That situation also reminds me of the Play-Doh barber set where you could make “hair” grow.

  9. Liz

    I have the same problem with one variety of strawberry too. It happens frequently which is disappointing as the fruit isn’t edible. Once they look red enough to eat, the fruit actually smells quite fermented (and certainly taste revolting). I don’t know the variety of plant that I have, other than it is possibly an heirloom type and is extremely vigorous in growth. Just wish it would have edible strawberries :)

  10. Dina

    We just visited Tanaka Farms in Irvine, CA with my son’s preschool class and they showed us a strawberry like the one pictured. They said you can plant the whole thing and it will grow. However, they did not go into why it happens which is the part that intrigues me.

  11. Amy

    We learned about this in one of my classes recently. The term used is vivipary. It usually happens as a mutation in tomatoes and corn, I have never seen it in strawberries though. The seeds begin to germinate (whether they are orthodox or recalcitrant)while still attached to the flesh of the fruit. It’s pretty interesting!

  12. Kim

    I’ve just picked one that looks just like this ( I have a photo). I’m
    in Auckland, New Zealand and someone suggested the germination before ripening was due to the humidity. I’ve had plenty of other nice strawberries but this one is from a pot on the ground by the fence and there are some weeds in the pot too.

  13. liz gaige Post author

    I can’t say the summer was very humid when I photographed this strawberry. Either way, it’s pretty cool to see something so alien looking in the garden.
    Thanks for your comment!

  14. theresa bouchard

    I have not seen any info on wintering strawberry seeds in order to grow them before, ever. You need to do that for usually certain fruit trees, usually the kind that form pits ..peaches etc.

    I have seen and grown strawberries from saving seeds directly from the strawberry, drying them, and planting in seed starting soil. No problems, just usually the first crop is minimal and next season it produces well!

    But that is an interesting technique, I don’t see why it shouldn’t work by putting the strawberry on the ground. Mexico, where I currently live now, has awesome strawberries, …and we have no winter season. Some cool nights, and thats it. So to insist that you need to first chill the seeds in cold weather in order to induce growth sounds to me like it is in error.

  15. liz gaige Post author

    Thank you for your comments. I find the whole thing fascinating and judging by the fact that this is my most commented on post, so do many others.

  16. nirak

    It seems it is a mutation called “phyllodie”.

    The seeds didn’t germinate – you’ll find no roots if you look.

  17. Leticia Camp

    Hi! My Mom always buys strawberries. I have found two that look exactly as The one you show. I cant found info about it .

  18. robyn williams

    I have one plant producing strawberries as someone said with a five o’clock shadow also some of the runners have produced a pink flower which is apparently a wild strawberry.
    the one with the five o’clock shadow is still green, We live in queensland australia and the winter has just got cold for about 4 days it is now warming up so will see what happens to them.

  19. Jamie rocco

    We have the same thing on one of our strawberries. I was going to plant it in a pot and see what happens

  20. fouad mohamed

    I am working with strawberry for 25 years and have seen this strawberry achenes to germinate while still attached to the green fruit before the red color appear, it is cultivar-dependant and seed germinate on the fruit until reaching more than 5cm with root ball arising from the bottom. Upon transplanting into pots, they enlarge to complete plant.

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