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Pineberries: Real or Hoax?

Pineberries: Real or Hoax?
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An internet graphic shows white-colored strawberries, claiming this “pineberry” is a cross between a strawberry and a pineapple. Is this true or false?

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Pineberries Exist, But Are Not Made With Pineapples.

Pineberries do exist, but they are not crossbred with pineapples. A brief 2010 article from ABC News reported that pineberries were not a genetically engineered “designer fruit,” but instead the result of crossbreeding various varieties of strawberry.

Several websites mention that pineberries are a hybrid of the strawberry species Fragaria chiloensis from South America and Fragaria virginiana of North America. According to a 2014 article from the Daily Mail, pineberries were discovered growing wild in South America, have similar genetics to an ordinary strawberry, and were rescued by Dutch farmers who began selectively cultivating them in preparation for limited commercial production.

Pineberry

This internet meme about pineberries erroneously claims they are a cross between strawberries and pineapples.

Internet “fact” pages originally circulated incorrect information, stating that pineberries were “crossed between strawberries and pineapples.” Later, they apparently realized their mistake and corrected their information, as seen in the 2016 tweet below.

They are smaller in size than the common strawberry, and are white with red seeds when ripe. Though some have said the pineberry tastes and smells like pineapple, there is no actual connection to the pineapple.

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Commercial Pineberry Production

The pineberry is produced in small numbers in Europe & Belize, and are only commercially available for a few weeks out of the year. They were first available in the UK beginning in 2010 and the limited location within the United States starting in 2012. Their introduction to the UK on April 1, 2010 led some to believe the existence of the pineberry was just an April Fool’s hoax.

For those wishing to grow their own, pineberry plants became available in the U.S. in 2014, and can be purchased from the websites of several online plant suppliers.

Google Trends History

The Google Trends graph below shows search interest in pineberries over time. Interest peaked in April 2010 when stories about the pineberry were featured in several major news outlets. Since then, interest appears to have declined, but another surge of curiosity did occur in September of 2012.

Bottom Line

Some internet “fact” pages have erroneously claimed that the pineberry is a cross between a strawberry and a pineapple, yet it is merely a hybrid of two strawberry varieties with a flavor reminiscent of pineapple.

Additional Sources

Updated March 9, 2016
Originally published June 2013

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