One of the things that I truly love about gardening is that there is always some new plant to try and grow. Every year breeders introduce plants I’ve never heard of before or new variations on old favorites. There was one fruit in particular that caught my attention last year that I knew I wanted to learn more about and that was the Pineberry. My initial thought when I heard about it was “What is a Pineberry?” but now that I’ve found out what it is I thought I would share that information with you.
A Pineberry is actually not a new variety of Strawberry. To those who are wary of GMOs: neither the color nor the flavor comes from genetic modification. It is native to Chile and was cultivated in Europe back in 2010 and became available in the United States in 2012. In some sense it that means it isn’t so new but sometimes it takes a while for a plant to get enough attention from growers to become commercially available. A Pineberry is an albino strawberry with embedded red seeds that are said to taste like a pineapple. It is smaller than a typical strawberry and disease resistant but yields can be smaller than one might expect so it is recommended that several plants be grown to compensate for this. While cross-pollination between a red strawberry variety and a Pineberry will probably increase fruit yields in both plants this cross-pollination will not develop a new hybridized fruit.
The biggest difference between red strawberries and Pineberries is the fruit itself. Pineberries start out green and turn white as they ripen. A pink blush may emerge on fruit that gets more exposure to the sun. The fruit not only tastes like a pineapple but has an aroma like one too. It has been reported that due to its appearance the Pineberry fruit may also be less appealing to birds than red strawberries. The mixture of plants with red fruit and white fruit also makes an interesting color combination too!
Otherwise, this cultivar shares many of the same characteristics as a typical Strawberry. It is low-growing, spreads by runners and has white flowers. It is an ever-bearing Strawberry which means it produces fruit throughout the growing season. It is considered to be partially self-pollinating which means it can bear fruit by being pollinated by another Pineberry plant. However, higher success rates have occurred when it is pollinated by other varieties of Strawberry so it is recommended that Pineberries be planted as part of a larger Strawberry patch. It is also possible to grow Pineberries in containers as well. For more information about growing Strawberries please see our Strawberry Article.