A List of Berries That Will Blow Your Mind

Avocados & tomatoes are berries. Strawberries & blackberries aren't. It's like everything we learned as kids was a lie in the topsy-turvy world of fruit.

Updated March 20, 2024
See more wild berries.
See more wild berries.

When I was a kid, I picked berries to make a little extra money — strawberries and raspberries to be exact. Well buckle up, friends, because it turns out that my childhood was a lie. The sweet beloved summer berries everyone knows and loves? They aren't berries at all, but tomatoes and avocados are. Confused? Check out our lists of berries, and we'll try to straighten it all out.

List of True Berries

If someone were to plop down a pumpkin pie in front of you and try to convince you it was a berry pie, you'd probably think they'd lost the plot. Welp — hang on to your hats, because they would not be lying. Pumpkins are berries, y'all.

Fast Fact

True berries are fruits that meet the botanical classification of the word berry, which are "simple fruits stemming from one flower with one ovary and typically have several seeds."

 I get that we don't really think about flower ovaries that often, so I'm here to continue to shift your botanical worldview with a mindblowing list of some true berries. This isn't every true berry in the world, but it's a good sampling.

  • Grapes
  • Elderberry
  • Currants
  • Barberry
  • Honeysuckle (some of these berries are edible and others are poisonous)
  • Oregon grape
  • Plantains
  • Bell peppers
  • Nannyberry
  • Gooseberry
  • Mayapple
  • Tomatoes
  • Sea buckthorn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Black currant
  • Red currant
  • Avocado
  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Persimmon
  • Wild rose
  • Rose hips
  • Blueberries (whew)
  • Citrus fruits (although these are referred to as "juicy berries" or "modified berries")

"Berries" That Aren't Berries... They're Drupes

You probably know what a stone fruit is... technically it's classified as a "drupe." A handful of things we think are berries are actually drupes. 

  • Acai
  • Hackberry
  • Sugarberry
  • Barbados cherry
  • Acerola
  • Indian plum
  • West Indian cherry
  • Goji berries

"Berries" That Are Actually False Berries

All these things that we call berries are actually false berries. 

  • Lingonberry
  • Cranberry
  • Bearberry
  • Crowberry
  • Berries from the strawberry tree (not the same as actual strawberries)
  • Huckleberries
  • Bilberry
  • Whortleberry
  • Juniper berries
  • Cowberry
  • Foxberry
  • Mountain cranberry
  • Red chokeberry
  • Black chokeberry
  • Purple chokeberry

"Berries" That Aren't Actually Berries at All

And now we come to the heart of the conspiracy... things we think are berries that have no relation to berries at all, except for the misleading name. 

  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Blackberry
  • Dewberry
  • Salmonberry
  • Bayberry
  • Boysenberry
  • Mulberry
  • Cloudberry
  • Chehalem berry
  • Loganberry
  • Thimbleberry
  • Wineberry
  • Youngberry
  • Ollalieberry (a cross between loganberries and youngberries)
  • Juneberries
  • Saskatoon berries
  • Serviceberry
  • Shade berry
  • Marionberry (a cross between olallieberries and Chehalem berries)
  • Tayberries (a cross between blackberries and raspberries)

Related: Strawberry Plant Care: Simple Guide to a Summer Favorite

Poisonous Berries That Aren't Edible

Botanical classifications aside, there are some berries that are poisonous. Below is a list of berries that range from mildly poisonous (causing gastric upset) to extremely poisonous (they can kill you).

  • Holly berries - hard, bright red berries, that grow on a holly plant
  • European holly berries - grown on holly plants that have white flowers and red berries
  • Yew berries - bright red berries with a hard green stone in the center that grown on an evergreen stub
  • Privet berries - purple or blackberries that grow on flowering shrub-like bushes
  • Pokeberry - also known as pokeweed, and poke, these purple berries grow on plants with a greenish-white flower
  • Daphne berries - these berries grow on sweet smelling daphne plants with green or pink flowers that grow in small clusters
  • Elderberry - While elderberries can be bluish-red, red, or black berries with cream-colored flowers, only the bright red elderberries are poisonous. The purple elderberries are used medicinally and in food products. The roots, stems, and leaves of the elderberries are used medicinally and must be used correctly.
  • Jerusalem cherry - berries with an appearance that is similar to a cherry tomato
  • Actea Pachypoda - also known as doll's eyes because their appearance is similar to a doll's eye. The white berries have a black dot in them. The plant has white flowers.
  • Ivy berries - small, dark purple to black colored berries that grow on a tall creeping ivy plant
  • Mistletoe berries - small, hard, red berries found on mistletoe
  • Baneberry - small, shiny, hard red or white berries common to the Pacific Northwest
  • Red nightshade - red berries that grow on a weedy plant
  • Green nightshade - green berries that grow on a weedy plant

Getting to the Berry Heart of Things

Whether they're true berries or just things we know as berries, these fruits are loaded with nutrition (except the poisonous ones), taste great, and we can't imagine our lives without them. So really, what we're going for here is the essence of the berry... not the botanical definition. And that, friends, is good enough for us.

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A List of Berries That Will Blow Your Mind