Vivipary – And why people are disgusted by it

A sprouting strawberry disgusts users on social platforms. Some can simply click away the image of the fruit - others really suffer from it.


A picture is going viral on social media: that of a germinating strawberry. Green leaves grow from the seeds. Actually a natural process – but the sight triggers disgust in many people.

“This is disturbing,” writes one Reddit user. “The leaves shouldn’t be there,” the-waitress- thinks. “I don’t like the feeling the photo gives me,” says shifykapine22. “Am I the only one who feels very uncomfortable looking at this photo?” asks another.

Doesn’t look particularly appetizing: Viviparie at a sliced tomatoPhoto: Istock/Michael Cristalli

Panic attacks, sweating and heart palpitations.

As the online magazine “Insider” writes, behind the shuddering of many people when looking at the sprouting strawberry is the scientific phenomenon trypophobia – the irrational fear of small holes.


While the sight makes some people feel slightly uncomfortable, other people even get panic attacks, sweating and heart palpitations.

Butternut squash with sprouts:


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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Night (@nightpeony)

Seeds germinate on mother plant

Even though you can’t actually see the holes in the strawberry, the leaves that grow out of the holes apparently cause the same fear.

Why does a plant know when to germinate?

When the time is right, plants form seedlings. Involved in this is an enzyme that is supposed to prevent premature germination. Sometimes plants develop too little of this growth-controlling enzyme, or none at all; this can be hereditary. As a result, the plants and fruits seem to go crazy and start germinating too early.

Can fruit disfigured by vivipary still be eaten?

In principle, yes. However, you should remove the sprouts, which not only looks better. Seedlings may contain solanine. This mildly toxic substance can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, such as abdominal pain, when eaten.

However, you can still process the fruits that have been altered by Viviparie. For example, to sauces, purees, broths or stocks.

Vivipary in a sunflower:


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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Amanda Savoini (@babisavoini)

Planting sprouting fruit

However, if you lose your appetite at the sight of fruits germinating inside, you don’t have to dispose of them in the trash right away. Tomatoes, for example, can be planted out perfectly. To do this, simply cut the fruits in half and distribute one half each into a seed pot. Seeds, seedlings and young plants need special growing soil to thrive. Tip: Do not forget to water sufficiently!


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Can vivipary be avoided?

Not really. After all, you usually only see the vivipary as soon as you cut open the fruit. Those who are disturbed by the process should be comforted. Vivipary only occurs very rarely.