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Everyone knows what a ripe strawberry looks like: bright red and dotted with tiny pips. But strawberry pips, like all seeds, are meant to grow new plants. So have you ever wondered what it looks like when all those little seeds sprout? Read on to see the bizarre reality.

A user on Reddit posted the following picture to educate us all:

What the-? It looks like something you might find under the microscope, but that’s just the pips sending out their sprouts. Not exactly appetizing, but that’s where strawberries come from.

Speaking of which, you may think of those little pips as seeds, but it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. Strawberries are a type of fruit known as an aggregate or compound, which means several different ovaries exist in a single flower, growing together on a single receptacle. In other words, each of those little pips is actually a unique ovary with a seed inside, while the fleshy red part they share is just the nutrient pack that will help them all grow. Isn’t nature wonderful?

Reactions on Reddit were mixed. Here is a smattering of their comments:

-I… I don’t like that.
-THROW IT IN THE FIRE! IT MUST NOT REPRODUCE!
-I have never seen a strawberry do this. They always just grow mold and a merry colony of fruit flies buzzing around it.
-I always assumed they fell out first, or germinated after the berry decomposed. This is awesome!
-All you frightened folks are weird. This is SO COOL. I am surprised I have never seen this before.
-I agree! This is how MORE strawberries are made. It is SO cool that a bunch of little fresh plants are growing out of this strawberry. The strawberry doesn’t even look moldy/decomposed. I wonder how this happened, my strawberries always end up molding instead of germinating.
-I didn’t know the seeds were fertile. I’ve got a row in the garden and they spread via rhizomes. Honestly,they try to spread out so quickly they’re hard to control.
-Strawberries would be an incredibly obnoxious weed if they didn’t produce tasty fruit.
– (From the original poster) According to the Fruit Ninja game, strawberries are the only fruit with their seeds on the outside.

Those humdrum strawberries turn out to be a pretty unique fruit. Considering how poplar they are, it’s surprising how few of us have seen them germinate like this.

For those that want to see what the next step looks like, some commenters at Girls Channel have posted their own photos of the process.

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It’s evolving!

And as an extra bonus, here is a square strawberry because Japan loves cubical fruit.

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Source: Rabo Kyu
Images: Rabo Kyu, Reddit, Girls Channel