It’s a hot summer day, and you’re out picking berries, shoveling handfuls full of ripe in-season wonders into your basket. You decide to be bad, to pop one of those succulent fruits in your mouth without washing. Before you sink your teeth into the familiar red skin of the strawberry, you notice it isn’t red at all, but green, and entirely covered in unsightly growths: that strawberry cannot be normal!
When it comes to fruits, we have a general idea of how they’re supposed to look. So when you’re expecting a red round tomato and it actually turns out looking closer to a lab experiment, it throws us for a loop. Luckily, there’s an explanation for these mutated fruits and veggies — an all natural one that may leave you too freaked to clean your plate.
Don’t scream. It’s gonna be okay. What you’re looking at is a strawberry, not an alien life form. There’s a scientific explanation for this freaky phenomena.
It happens when, from inside the fruit, an embryo busts out of one of the interior seeds, eventually growing straight out of the fruit itself, resulting in spiky, Chia Pet looking things we are all afraid to put into our mouths.
This wacky process is called vivipary. You’re most likely to see these impatient seedlings bursting out of tomatoes, strawberries, citrus fruits, and peppers. Though tons of plants experience this process where buds use their “mother plant” as a launchpad for life.
It’s a process mimicked in the salty shallows of areas crawling with mangroves. The embryos inside the seeds normally wait patiently for their mama plant to run through her life span, then, once the fruit splits open, those embryos find a home in the damp soil.
In the case of the mangroves, seedlings crawling out of their mother plants is totally necessary, since they exist in water and can’t wait to fulfill their own germination process. Now, the fruits sitting on your counter sprouting feelers are another story.
That papaya you bought at the farmer’s market looked totally normal, but when you cracked that sucker open, you saw the evidence of fidgety embryos! Who thought the warm moist interior of the fruit was actually a signal from mother nature.
More than likely, though, that mango you intended to slice up for your fruit salad just turned your stomach. The scientific explanation holds little comfort when you paid a cool $3 for an organic mango that resembles a prop straight out of unsettling cinema.
Before you scoop out these buggers and hook ’em on your fishing pole, you’d do better to plant them in a pot of soil. These agile sprouts are already in the process of becoming tomato plants. They just look super ugly.
Sometimes the sprouts just burrow beneath the skin of their host. You know, like a nightmare? It’s difficult to decide which viviparous stage is the worst. The visual varicose vein-ish nature of this pre-puncture tomato, or the next stage…
Nope. This is worse. Call the police. Or Tom Hanks because we’ve found a dead ringer for Wilson the volleyball. If this tomato could talk, it would just be screaming for hours on end for the rest of time.
Avoca-doh! What the heck is that? The beginning swirl of magic that appears before a genie bursts forth from a lamp allowing you to wish for a regular looking guac ingredient? No? Then please, proceed to arc that monstrosity into the trash.
Oh my goodness there’s a bunch of grubs in the butternut squash. Normally the brown sugar, oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper are supposed to sit in there. Too bad it’s too heinous to continue forward with the meal.
Viviparous peppers might snatch the crown for the most exciting of the lot. When you cut into that red bell variety and see a bunch of nearly fully formed mini peppers shacking up inside, you’ve hit the jackpot — bonus peppers.
When life hands you lemons that look like this, don’t you dare make lemonade. Well, you can. There’s nothing strictly wrong with viviparous fruits per say. They are totally edible. It’s just they look scary.
The poor sucker that purchased this tomato went on vacation and forgot about it. Imagine their mental breakdown when they arrived back home to this science experiment. What went down in that house to inspire such a catastrophe? How can they sleep soundly in such conditions?
Can we get a barber in here? Someone is in desperate need of a shave. A few quick swipes of a razor and this strawberry would be worthy of topping a shortcake. In its current condition it could headline a carnival attraction.
Besides the core, make sure to dodge the beginnings of full blown apple trees sprouting from the inside of your golden delicious. You’re one swallowed sprout away from turning into a host fruit yourself.
Don’t let yourself be persuaded by how slightly interesting it looks. These baby sprouts are downright vicious. They couldn’t relax for 2 weeks so the mother tomato could enjoy getting turned into a delicious bruschetta. No, they had to crawl through her skin to get attention.
Nothing would work on pores this clogged, so better safe and sorry and whip this mutant strawberry into the farthest corner of your backyard. Then you can take a look in a few years to see if you’ve ended up with a berry patch or a disaster area.
Combing through your garden in search of viviparous fruits and veggies can only spawn so much fear. Fulfill that freakish adrenaline rush in the aisle of your local grocery store. Bizarre looking fruits are everywhere, and some are genetically altered in a lab to achieve peak weirdness.
This banana has twice as much protein to offer as the traditional tropical fruit! Look at these two bosom buddies all snuggled up together. It kind of makes you wonder if its peel is two times as slippery? Hopefully, you’ll never find out!
Traditionally lemons are little spheres of citrus-filled goodness. However, this tangy fruit clearly never got that memo. It looks like a yellow-hued dove that’s getting ready to take flight. Could supernatural lemon forces be at work?
Here’s yet another double banana—and an inside view of it to boot! There’s something kind of strange about how natural these two bananas look side by side within this peel. With all this extra fruit, there’s no excuse not to make a banana split at this point!
Believe it or not, what you’re looking at is a grape. In fact, it’s better than your average grape; it’s eight entire grapes in one! Forget the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—these are Teenage Mutant Ninja Grapes for the win.
What do you do when nature gives you a bizarre, triple-kiwi fruit? Why, you peel that sucker and enjoy three times the amount of delicious, tropical flavor! Sure, it might look a little funky, but that doesn’t make it taste any less delicious.
Fruits like strawberries are often known for their very specific shape, but not this monster berry. While the rest of the berries were out there getting ready for swimsuit season, this one has decided to live large. You go, strawberry!
Speaking of strange strawberries, you’re probably used to seeing the hundreds of tiny seeds that dot their surface. But did you ever stop to think about what would happen if they accidentally sprouted? It’s definitely a very odd sight to behold!
Here’s another sprouted strawberry. Perhaps this one was feeling a bit underdressed and decided that springing some greens would be the perfect way to cover all of its exposed areas. It’s stylish, but not very appetizing.
When you pick up an ordinary apple, you aren’t expecting anything unusual. There might be a stem, and you’ll be able to easily identify the base of the apple so you can eat your way around the core. Unless, of course, your apple happens to look like this one. What happened here?
It’s funny, but until you’ve seen a perfectly straight-shaped banana like this one, it would never occur to you just how important the banana’s trademark curve is to its appearance. A straight banana just looks like nature went seriously wrong.
You know that your fruits and vegetables all have seeds inside of them, but when you shop at the grocery store, many of those seeds are viable. Unless, of course, the seeds happen to be inside of this tomato. These seeds couldn’t wait for the fruit to get eaten before they sprang forth!
What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple? Finding half a worm in your apple (ugh). What’s worse than that, you ask? Finding seeds that have already sprouted and kind of look a little bit too much like worms for comfort.
A lemon is often more tart and powerful than you might guess considering its unassuming size. There is nothing remotely unassuming about this lemon, however! It’s like a superhero ready to squirt juice right into the face of evil-doers!
When you first look at this photograph, chances are you’ll think you’re looking at a pear. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong: it’s an apple! One that happens to look exactly like a pear, actually. How strange. It’s like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, only with fruit.
When this person cracked open his orange to enjoy a bit of delicious citrus, he had no idea that he’d scored himself a buy-one-get-one-free deal! Check out the fully formed (albeit tiny) second orange that was waiting to be discovered inside of the first one.
Clementines are related to oranges, but they’re often much smaller. You wouldn’t think there was room for this clementine-within-a-clementine to take root, but there it is! Wonder what it looked like once it was peeled open?