The berry family is a linguistic invention particular to Germanic languages, like English. Other languages, like Spanish and French, do not combine the wide, diverse berry family into one group, but rather have very different words for blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. The word berry comes from the Old English berie, which originally meant “grape.” As the English language spread to the Americas with colonization, many native grape-shaped fruits that grew in bunches took on the berry suffix: blueberry, cranberry, elderberry, etc. Though the many small, delicious fruits known as berries were grouped together in a linguistic accident, they are in fact many biologically distinct plants and fruits.

A botanist would probably tell you that grouping berries together is about as accurate as calling dolphins, tadpoles and squid “water creatures.” True berries are simply fruits in which each fruit comes from one flower, like blueberries. Even cucumbers and tomatoes are technically berries! Botanically speaking, blueberries (Latin family: Ericaceae) are more closely related to rhododendrons than they are to raspberries. Strawberries (Latin family: Fragaria) are called accessory fruits by botanists because they grow from parts of the plant other than the flowers. Raspberries and blackberries (Latin family: Rubus) are another example altogether. They are called aggregate fruits because their flowers form drupelets instead of one whole fruit. Drupelet is the technical word for the individual morsels of blackberries and raspberries. Fruits in the Rubus family are also called bramble fruits because they grow on spiky bushes.

Grapes, by the way, are technically berries. But where did the word grape come from? In Old English grapes were called winberige, literally “wine berry.” The word grape comes from the Old French word graper, which came from the word krappon, the hook used to pick grapes. In English, the tool became synonymous with the fruit in 1300s. (What other food words have morphed in weird ways? The history of the “hot dog” may gross you out, and the origin of egg is not to be missed.)
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Luckily, the erroneous linguistic grouping of “berries” gave us great treats like mixed berry ice cream, which may confuse botanists and non-Germanic language speakers.


US Fed News Service, Including US State News December 17, 2011 KANSAS CITY, Kan., Dec. 15 — The Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 office issued the following news release: this web site city of omaha

Representatives of EPA Region 7, the State of Nebraska, the City of Omaha, Douglas County, Neb., and local residents gathered today in Omaha to celebrate EPA’s completion of its 10,000th cleanup of toxic lead from residential yard soils in the city, a milestone in the Agency’s continuing work at the Omaha Lead Superfund Site.

Under the authority of the Superfund program, EPA has been working in Omaha since 1999 to identify and remove lead from residential properties, as well as public parks, playgrounds, and child care facilities. To date, the Agency has sampled more than 39,000 properties in Omaha, and – as of October 23, 2011 – completed the cleanup of its 10,000th residential yard.

Approximately 4,100 properties with elevated levels of lead in soils remain to be cleaned up to complete EPA’s work at the nation’s largest residential lead remediation site. Aided by favorable weather, long outdoor construction seasons and a continued record-setting work pace for soil remediation, EPA and its contractors anticipate that the job could be completed by 2015.

“EPA’s successful work in Omaha has kept families healthier, secured property values in the city’s heart, and provided valuable job training,” EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. “This agency has worked productively with a range of local partners for over a decade to get the lead out of Omaha, and we’re staying on task until we’ve finished our job.” Brooks today joined Nebraska State Sen. Brenda J. Council, Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle, Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour, other state and local officials, and several property owners at a news conference at the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center to mark the 10,000-yard milestone.

The EPA Regional Administrator noted that the lead cleanup’s main objective, to protect current and future generations of Omaha’s children from health hazards associated with lead poisoning, has already proven to be a success. The percentage of children in eastern Omaha tested with elevated blood lead levels has been reduced from nearly 33 percent prior to 1998, to less than two percent today.

The cleanup is also paying significant economic benefits, Brooks said. To date, EPA’s total investments of $247.9 million at the Omaha Lead Site have contributed to community revitalization and redevelopment, improvement of property values, local employment and economic growth.

EPA contracts have provided more than $61 million in spending so far on local materials and local labor, adding about 300 high-paying ($23 to $30 per hour) seasonal jobs to the local economy for each of the past four years. EPA has also awarded $500,000 to a cooperative agreement with the Omaha Metropolitan Community College to provide job training and certifications to local workers, helping to build a skilled labor force to assist in the cleanup, and for future employment beyond the site. see here city of omaha

EPA’s related investments in Omaha’s public health education and protection include cooperative agreements of $9.7 million to the City of Omaha for paint stabilization and database development, $3.9 million to the Douglas County Health Department for interior home assessments, $205,000 to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) to support its work at the Omaha Lead Site, and a $50,000 technical assistance grant to the Lead Safe Omaha Coalition.

Today, Regional Administrator Brooks thanked those departments, agencies and groups, along with numerous neighborhood organizations – and the people of Omaha – for working cooperatively with EPA on the continuing cleanup.

EPA’s Omaha mission dates back to 1998, when the Omaha City Council solicited the Agency’s assistance in addressing problems with lead contamination in area soils, prompted by cleanup activities at the former ASARCO lead smelter along the west bank of the Missouri River.

From the early 1870s until it closed in 1997, the ASARCO plant emitted lead and other heavy metals into the atmosphere from smoke stacks and fugitive emissions. Those pollutants were carried by wind and deposited on the ground across eastern Omaha for more than a century. Over time, soils around many residences have also been contaminated with lead from the flaking and deterioration of lead-based exterior paints.

Lead in surface soils poses a serious health risk to children six years of age and younger, and to pregnant women. Lead poisoning can result in learning and behavioral problems, hearing problems, diminished IQ, and kidney damage. EPA also classifies lead as a possible cancer-causing agent.

Parents are urged to have children six years of age and younger tested for lead each year. Testing is available through most local family physicians, and from the Douglas County Health Department. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com Chris Whitley, 913/551-7394, 816/518-2794, whitley.christopher@epa.gov


  1. sweet dictionelle -  January 31, 2012 - 4:06 pm

    congrats to testees for the first comment in the gutter

  2. Unbelievable « sf49ersdotcom -  November 25, 2011 - 1:17 am

    [...] What are vegetables now? Well, that depends on who you ask. Botanists, nutritionists, government agencies and everyday people all hold contradictory opinions on the matter. Let’s take the example of two tablespoons of tomato sauce. We already know what Congress thinks of that, but what does the USDA recommended nutrition think of it? Tomatoes are part of the family of “Red or Orange Vegetables” which also includes squash, carrots and red peppers. Botanists would say that tomatoes are Solanum lycopersicum, and we technically eat the fruit of the plant. (Genetically speaking, the tomato is very closely related to the potato.) According to nutritionists anything from beets (which are roots) to spinach (which are leaves) to tomatoes (which are fruits) count as “vegetables.” They are typically rich in nutrients and low in fat and protein. The main difference between fruits and vegetables are that fruits are sweet (and higher in sugar) and vegetables are savory (and lower in sugar). Find out what makes a berry a berry here. [...]

  3. Julie, J.A.B.'s Freelance World -  October 26, 2011 - 10:44 pm

    This is a bit over my head, but I was fascinated that cucumbers and tomatoes could be considered berries per the original use of the word “berry.”

  4. Vikhaari -  October 22, 2011 - 11:06 am

    According to Dictionary.com. watermelon is of gourd family; gourd is cucurbitaceous family of plants, which are creeping plants bearing cucumber (hence, the name cucu… perhaps), pumpkins, squashes and the likes.
    And eggplant “a plant, Solanum melongena esculentum,of the nightshade family, cultivated for its edible, dark-purple or occasionally white or yellow fruit,” says the D….com.
    Thank you.

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