In a shop, a fruit is any fleshy, sweet plant growth. In botany, a fruit is a plant structure that contains its seeds. The word fruit is used only if it comes from the part of the flower which was an ovary. It is an extra layer round the seeds, which may or may not be fleshy. However, even in botany, there is no general agreement on how fruits should be classified. Many do have extra layers from other parts of the flower.
Botanical fruits [change]
The botanical term includes many that are not "fruits" in the common sense of the term. such as the vegetables squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, tomato, peas, beans, corn, eggplant, and sweet pepper and some spices, such as allspice and chillies.
Accessory fruits [change]
An accessory fruit or false fruit (pseudocarp) is a fruit in which some of the flesh is derived not from the ovary but from some adjacent tissue.
Non-botanical fruits [change]
Strictly speaking, these are not botanical fruits:
- any produced by non-flowering plants, like juniper berries, which are the seed-containing female cones of conifers.
- fleshy fruit-like growths that develop from other plant tissues (like rhubarb).
Area of agreement [change]
These are fruits which you can buy in shops, and which are also acceptable as botanical fruits:
- berry fruits: redcurrant, gooseberry, tomato, avocado
- false berries: banana, cranberry, blueberries
- stone fruits or drupes: plum, cherry, peach, apricot, olive
- citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines
- aggregate fruits: raspberries, blackberries
- multiple fruits: pineapples, figs
Many fruits come from trees or bushes. For plants, fruits are a means of dispersal, usually by animals. When the fruit breaks apart, the seeds can go into the ground and begin to grow. Most fruits we eat contain a lot of water and natural sugars, and many are high in Vitamin C. They have a large amount of dietary fibre. Fruits are usually low in protein and fat content, but avocados and some nuts are exceptions to this. Not only humans, but our closest living relatives (primates) are keen fruit-eaters. So are many other groups of herbivorous mammals and many birds.
Seedless fruits [change]
Seedlessness is an important feature of some fruits of commerce. Commercial bananas, pineapple, and watermelons are examples of seedless fruits. Some citrus fruits, especially oranges, satsumas, mandarin oranges, and grapefruit are valued for their seedlessness.
Seedless bananas and grapes are triploids, and seedlessness results from the abortion of the embryonic plant which is produced by fertilisation. The method requires normal pollination and fertilisation.
Other pages [change]
- Mauseth, James D. 2003. Botany: an introduction to plant biology. Jones & Bartlett, Boston.
- Schlegel, Rolf 2003. Encyclopedic dictionary of plant breeding and related subjects. Haworth Press. ISBN 1-56022-950-0.
- Esau, K. 1977. Anatomy of seed plants. Wiley New York.
- Spiegel-Roy P. Goldschmidt E.E. 1996. The biology of citrus. Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-33321-0 p87–88