Ho’adamah Fruits and Ha’eitz Berries

There are different opinions in halacha about what makes a plant called a “tree” to make a bracha Ha’eitz.

The Gemara says that after the fruit is gone, the “Gavza” has to stay for it to be called a tree.

So what’s a “Gavza“?

The Rosh says that the Gavza is the root. As long as the root stays all year round, even in the winter when there are no fruits, it is still called a tree.

The Geonim say that the Gavza is the geza, the trunk. The trunk has to be there even in the winter, for it to be called a tree.

Rashi says that the Gavza is the branches. Only if the branches stay all year round, is it called a tree.

The Alter Rebbe paskens according to Rashi.

Now let’s look at how bananas, strawberries, and blueberries grow, to see why they have the brachos they have:

Here is a banana tree:


You can see the tall brown trunk and green branches and big banana leaves growing. But in the winter, those leaves and branches all die, and all that is left is part of the trunk.

That’s why bananas are Ha’adamah, because a tree that doesn’t keep its branches doesn’t have the halacha of a tree.

Now let’s look at a blueberry bush:


You can see lots of blueberries growing from long branches. Even in the middle of the winter, those brown branches stay. According to halacha, that makes a blueberry bush like a tree — so the bracha on blueberries is Ha’eitz.

Now let’s look at a strawberry plant:


This is a strawberry plant just starting to grow in the spring. You can see just a few leaves close to the ground.


Now here’s a strawberry plant that has grown a lot! You can see green branches and leaves, and even some strawberries ready for picking! In the winter, those green branches all die, and there isn’t really a trunk or branches left at all.

That’s why strawberries are Ha’adamah, because the strawberry bush is not like a tree, with branches and a trunk that stand all year long.

Here are pictures of some other Ho’adamah fruits growing: