In everyday language, a berry is a small, pulpy and often edible fruit. Berries are usually juicy, rounded, brightly colored, sweet or sour, and do not have a stone or pit, although many pips or seeds may be present. Common examples are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries; and red- and blackcurrants. In Britain soft fruit is a horticultural term for such fruits.
In scientific terminology, a botanical berry is a fruit produced from the ovary of a single flower in which the outer layer of the ovary wall develops into an edible fleshy portion (botanically the pericarp). The definition includes many fruits that are not commonly known as berries, such as grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants (aubergines) and bananas. Fruits excluded by the botanical definition include strawberries and raspberries. A plant bearing berries is said to be bacciferous or baccate.
Many berries are edible, but some are poisonous to humans, such as the fruits of the potato, the deadly nightshade and pokeweed, and can cause harm. Others, such as the white, red mulberry, and elderberry are poisonous when unripe, but are edible in their ripe form.
Berries are eaten worldwide and often used in jams, preserves, cakes or pies. Some berries are commercially important. The berry industry varies from country to country as do types of berries cultivated or growing in the wild. Many berries such as raspberries and strawberries have been bred for thousands of years and are distinct from their wild counterparts, while some berries such as lingonberries and cloudberries grow almost exclusively in the wild.