I learned some years ago that the kiwifruit was formerly known as the Chinese gooseberry; I had read that sales in the US went way up when importers started using the new name.

More recently, I was in the supermarket and I happened across a fruit labeled as goldenberries. I had seen them for the first time, and eaten some, a couple months earlier, and was intrigued at the unusual-to-me tart-but-sweet flavor. But what I hadn’t known is that these, too, were also known as gooseberries.

In followup research, a.k.a. poking around on Wikipedia, I learned that there are a whole bunch of plants known as gooseberries, some related to each other and some not.

About the origin of the name (for the European gooseberry, anyway), Wikipedia says:

The “goose” in “gooseberry” has usually been seen as a corruption of either the Dutch word kruisbes or the allied German Krausbeere, or of the earlier forms of the French groseille. Alternatively, the word has been connected to the Middle High German krus (curl, crisped), in Latin as grossularia. However, the Oxford English Dictionary takes the obvious derivation from goose and berry as probable because “the grounds on which plants and fruits have received names associating them with animals are so often inexplicable that the inappropriateness in the meaning does not necessarily give good grounds for believing that the word is an etymological corruption”. The French for gooseberry is groseille à maquereau, translated as “mackerel berries”, due to their use in a sauce for mackerel in old French cuisine. In Britain, gooseberries may informally be called goosegogs. […]

“Gooseberry bush” was 19th-century slang for pubic hair, and from this comes the saying that babies are “born under a gooseberry bush”.

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