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- Fruits And Vegetables


  1. Acorn Community
  2. All-Bran
  3. Almond milk
  4. Alpen
  5. American Vegetarian Party
  6. Amirim
  7. Amy's Kitchen
  8. Animal liberation movement
  9. Animal rights
  10. Animal welfare
  11. Arkangel
  12. Artificial cream
  13. Ayyavazhi
  14. Buddhist cuisine
  15. Catharism
  16. Catholic Vegetarian Society
  17. Cereal
  18. Chreese
  19. Christian Vegetarian Association
  20. Christian vegetarianism
  21. Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre
  22. Coconut milk powder
  23. Cool Whip
  24. Donald Watson
  25. Economic vegetarianism
  26. Environmental benefits of Vegetarianism
  27. Environmental ethics
  28. Ethics of eating meat
  29. Flexitarianism
  30. Food for Life
  31. Free range
  32. Fruit
  33. Fruitarianism
  34. Hardline
  35. Herb
  36. Horchata
  37. Hummus
  38. Indian Vegetarian
  39. International Vegetarian Union
  40. In vitro meat
  41. Jainism
  42. Kokkoh
  43. Korean vegetarian cuisine
  44. Lacto-ovo vegetarianism
  45. List of vegans
  46. Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition
  47. Meat analogue
  48. Movement for Compassionate Living
  49. Natural hygiene
  50. Non-dairy creamer
  51. Nut
  52. Nutritional yeast
  53. Permaculture
  54. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
  55. Plant milk
  56. Poi
  57. Raw veganism
  58. Rice milk
  59. Salad bar
  60. Seventh-day Adventist Church
  61. Shahmai Network
  62. Simple living
  63. Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians
  64. Soy milk
  65. Soy protein
  66. Spice
  67. Spiritual practice
  68. Sustainable living
  69. Textured vegetable protein
  70. The Celestine Prophecy
  71. The China Study
  72. The Pitman Vegetarian Hotel
  73. The Vegan Sourcebook
  74. Tofu
  75. Toronto Vegetarian Association
  76. Vegan
  77. Vegan organic gardening
  78. Vegan Society
  79. Vegetable
  80. Vegetarian cuisine
  81. Vegetarian diet
  82. Vegetarianism
  83. Vegetarianism and religion
  84. Vegetarianism in Buddhism
  85. Vegetarianism in specific countries
  86. Vegetarian nutrition
  87. Vegetarian Society
  88. Veggie burger
  89. VegNews
  90. Weetabix
  91. Wheat gluten
  92. World Vegan Day
  93. World Vegetarian Day

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fruit stall in Barcelona, Spain.
Fruit stall in Barcelona, Spain.

The term fruit has different meanings depending on context. In botany, a fruit is the ripened ovary—together with seeds—of a flowering plant. In many species, the fruit incorporates the ripened ovary and surrounding tissues. Fruits are the means by which flowering plants disseminate seeds.[1] In cuisine, when discussing fruit as food, the term usually refers to those plant fruits that are sweet and fleshy, examples of which include plums, apples and oranges. However, a great many common vegetables, as well as nuts and grains, are the fruit of the plant species they come from.[2]

No one terminology really fits the enormous variety that is found among plant fruits.[3] Botanical terminology for fruits is inexact and will remain so. The term false fruit (pseudocarp, accessory fruit) is sometimes applied to a fruit like the fig (a multiple-accessory fruit; see below) or to a plant structure that resembles a fruit but is not derived from a flower or flowers. Some gymnosperms, such as yew, have fleshy arils that resemble fruits and some junipers have berry-like, fleshy cones. The term "fruit" has also been inaccurately applied to the seed-containing female cones of many conifers.[4]

With most fruits pollination is a vital part of fruit culture, and the lack of knowledge of pollinators and pollenizers can contribute to poor crops or poor quality crops. In a few species, the fruit may develop in the absence of pollination/fertilization, a process known as parthenocarpy.[5] Such fruits are seedless. A plant that does not produce fruit is known as acarpous, meaning "without fruit".[6]

Botanic fruit and culinary fruit

Venn diagram representing the relationship between botanical and culinary fruit and vegetables. Many culinary vegetables are botanical fruit.
Venn diagram representing the relationship between botanical and culinary fruit and vegetables. Many culinary vegetables are botanical fruit.
An arrangement of fruits commonly thought of as vegetables, including tomatoes and various squash.
An arrangement of fruits commonly thought of as vegetables, including tomatoes and various squash.

Many foods are botanically fruit but are treated as vegetables in cooking. These include cucurbits (e.g., squash, pumpkin, and cucumber), tomato, aubergine (eggplant), and sweet pepper, spices, such as allspice and chillies.[2] Occasionally, though rarely, a culinary "fruit" will not be a true fruit in the botanical sense. For example, rhubarb may be considered a fruit, though only the astringent petiole is edible.[7] In the commercial world, European Union rules define carrot as a fruit for the purposes of measuring the proportion of "fruit" contained in carrot jam.[8] In the culinary sense, a fruit is usually any sweet tasting plant product associated with seed(s), a vegetable is any savoury or less sweet plant product, and a nut any hard, oily, and shelled plant product.[9]

Although a nut is a type of fruit, it is also a popular term for edible seeds, such as peanut (which is actually a legume), pistachio and walnut.[10] Technically, a cereal grain is a fruit termed a caryopsis. However, the fruit wall is very thin and fused to the seed coat so almost all of the edible grain is actually a seed. Therefore, cereal grains, such as corn, wheat and rice are better considered edible seeds, although some references list them as fruits.[11] Edible gymnosperms seeds are often misleadingly given fruit names, e.g. pine nuts, ginkgo nuts, and juniper berries.

Fruit development

A fruit is a ripened ovary. After the ovule in an ovary is fertilized in a process known as pollination, the ovary begins to ripen. The ovule develops into a seed and the ovary wall pericarp may become fleshy (as in berries or drupes), or form a hard outer covering (as in nuts). In some cases, the sepals, petals and/or stamens and style of the flower fall off. Fruit development continues until the seeds have matured. With some multiseeded fruits the extent to which the flesh develops is proportional to the number of fertilized ovules.[12]

The wall of the fruit, developed from the ovary wall of the flower, is called the pericarp. The pericarp is often differentiated into two or three distinct layers called the exocarp (outer layer - also called epicarp), mesocarp (middle layer), and endocarp (inner layer). In some fruits, especially simple fruits derived from an inferior ovary, other parts of the flower (such as the floral tube, including the petals, sepals, and stamens), fuse with the ovary and ripen with it. The plant hormone Ethylene causes ripening. When such other floral parts are a significant part of the fruit, it is called an accessory fruit. Since other parts of the flower may contribute to the structure of the fruit, it is important to study flower structure to understand how a particular fruit forms.[4]

Fruits are so varied in form and development, that it is difficult to devise a classification scheme that includes all known fruits. It will also be seen that many common terms for seeds and fruit are incorrectly applied, a fact that complicates understanding of the terminology. Seeds are ripened ovules; fruits are the ripened ovaries or carpels that contain the seeds. To these two basic definitions can be added the clarification that in botanical terminology, a nut is a type of fruit and not another term for seed.[2]

There are three basic types of fruits:

  1. Simple fruit
  2. Aggregate fruit
  3. Multiple fruit

Simple fruit

Simple fruits can be either dry or fleshy and result from the ripening of a simple or compound ovary with only one pistil. Dry fruits may be either dehiscent (opening to discharge seeds), or indehiscent (not opening to discharge seeds).[13] Types of dry, simple fruits (with examples) are:

  • achene - (buttercup)
  • capsule - (Brazil nut)
  • caryopsis - (wheat)
  • fibrous drupe - (coconut, walnut)
  • follicle - (milkweed)
  • legume - (pea, bean, peanut)
  • loment
  • nut - (hazelnut, beech, oak acorn)
  • samara - (elm, ash, maple key)
  • schizocarp - (carrot)
  • silique - (radish)
  • silicle - (shepherd's purse)
  • utricle - (beet)
  • zurubicle - {watermelon, tomato, broccoli}

Fruits in which part or all of the pericarp (fruit wall) is fleshy at maturity are simple fleshy fruits. Types of fleshy, simple fruits (with examples) are:

  • berry - (tomato, avocado)
  • stone fruit or drupe (plum, cherry, peach, olive)
  • false berry - accessory fruits (banana, cranberry)
  • pome - accessory fruits (apple, pear, rosehip)

Aggregate fruit

Dewberry flowers. Note the multiple pistils, each of which will produce a druplet. Each flower will become a blackberry-like aggregate fruit.
Dewberry flowers. Note the multiple pistils, each of which will produce a druplet. Each flower will become a blackberry-like aggregate fruit.

An aggregate fruit, or etaerio, develops from a flower with numerous simple pistils.[14] An example is the raspberry, whose simple fruits are termed drupelets because each is like a small drupe attached to the receptacle. In some bramble fruits (such as blackberry) the receptacle is elongate and part of the ripe fruit, making the blackberry an aggregate-accessory fruit.[15] The strawberry is also an aggregate-accessory fruit, only one in which the seeds are contained in achenes.[16] In all these examples, the fruit develops from a single flower with numerous pistils.

Multiple fruit

A multiple fruit is one formed from a cluster of flowers (called an inflorescence). Each flower produces a fruit, but these mature into a single mass.[17] Examples are the pineapple, edible fig, mulberry, osage-orange, and breadfruit.

In some plants, such as this noni, flowers are produced regularly along the stem and it is possible to see together examples of flowering, fruit development, and fruit ripening
In some plants, such as this noni, flowers are produced regularly along the stem and it is possible to see together examples of flowering, fruit development, and fruit ripening

In the photograph on the right, stages of flowering and fruit development in the noni or Indian mulberry (Morinda citrifolia) can be observed on a single branch. First an inflorescence of white flowers called a head is produced. After fertilization, each flower develops into a drupe, and as the drupes expand, they become connate (merge) into a multiple fleshy fruit called a syncarpet.[18]

There are also many dry multiple fruits, e.g.

  • Tuliptree, multiple of samaras.
  • Sweet gum, multiple of capsules.
  • Sycamore and teasel, multiple of achenes.
  • Magnolia, multiple of follicles.

Seedless fruits

Seedlessness is an important feature of some fruits of commerce. Commercial cultivars of bananas and pineapples are examples of seedless fruits. Some cultivars of citrus fruits (especially navel oranges and mandarin oranges), table grapes, grapefruit, and watermelons are valued for their seedlessness. In some species, seedlessness is the result of parthenocarpy, where fruits set without fertilization. Parthenocarpic fruit set may or may not require pollination. Most seedless citrus fruits require a pollination stimulus; bananas and pineapples do not. Seedlessness in table grapes results from the abortion of the embryonic plant that is produced by fertilization, a phenomenon known as stenospermocarpy which requires normal pollination and fertilization.[5]

Seed dissemination

Variations in fruit structures largely depend on the mode of dispersal of the seeds they contain. This dispersal can be achieved by animals, wind, water, or explosive dehiscence.[19]

Some fruits have coats covered with spikes or hooked burrs, either to prevent themselves from being eaten by animals or to stick to the hairs, feathers or legs of animals, using them as dispersal agents. Examples include cocklebur and unicorn plant.[20][21]

The sweet flesh of many fruits is "deliberately" appealing to animals, so that the seeds held within are eaten and "unwittingly" carried away and deposited at a distance from the parent. Likewise, the nutritious, oily kernels of nuts are appealing to rodents (such as squirrels) who hoard them in the soil in order to avoid starving during the winter, thus giving those seeds that remain uneaten the chance to germinate and grow into a new plant away from their parent.[2]

Other fruits are elongated and flattened out naturally and so become thin, like wings or helicopter blades, e.g. maple, tuliptree and elm. This is an evolutionary mechanism to increase dispersal distance away from the parent via wind. Other wind-dispersed fruit have tiny parachutes, e.g. dandelion and salsify.[19]

Coconut fruits can float thousands of miles in the ocean to spread seeds. Some other fruits that can disperse via water are nipa palm and screw pine.[19]

Some fruits fling seeds substantial distances (up to 100 m in sandbox tree) via explosive dehiscence or other mechanisms, e.g. impatiens and squirting cucumber.[22]


Nectarines are one of many fruits that can be easily stewed.
Nectarines are one of many fruits that can be easily stewed.

Many hundreds of fruits, including fleshy fruits like apple, peach, pear, kiwifruit, watermelon and mango are commercially valuable as human food, eaten both fresh and as jams, marmalade and other preserves. Fruits are also found commonly in such manufactured foods as cookies, muffins, yoghurt, ice cream, cakes, and many more. Many fruits are used to make beverages, such as fruit juices (orange juice, apple juice, grape juice, etc) or alcoholic beverages, such as wine or brandy.[23]

Many vegetables are botanical fruits, including tomato, bell pepper, eggplant, okra, squash, pumpkin, green bean, cucumber and zucchini.[24] Olive fruit is pressed for olive oil. Apples are often used to make vinegar. The spices vanilla, paprika, allspice and black pepper are made from fruits.[25]

Nonfood uses

Because fruits have been such a major part of the human diet, different cultures have developed many different uses for various fruits that they do not depend on as being edible. Many dry fruits are used as decorations or in dried flower arrangements, such as unicorn plant, lotus, wheat, annual honesty and milkweed. Ornamental trees and shrubs are often cultivated for their colorful fruits, including holly, pyracantha, viburnum, skimmia, beautyberry and cotoneaster.[26]

Fruits of opium poppy are the source of the drugs opium and morphine.[27] Osage orange fruits are used to repel cockroaches.[28] Bayberry fruits provide a wax often used to make candles.[29] Many fruits provide natural dyes, e.g. walnut, sumac, cherry and mulberry.[30] Dried gourds are used as decorations, water jugs, bird houses, musical instruments, cups and dishes. Pumpkins are carved into Jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween. The spiny fruit of burdock or cocklebur were the inspiration for the invention of Velcro.[31]

Coir is a fiber from the fruit of coconut that is used for doormats, brushes, mattresses, floortiles, sacking, insulation and as a growing medium for container plants. The shell of the coconut fruit is used to make souvenir heads, cups, bowls, musical instruments and bird houses.[32]

See also

  • List of fruits
  • Fruit trees
  • Tutti frutti
  • Fruitarianism


  1. ^ Lewis, Robert A. (January 1, 2002). CRC Dictionary of Agricultural Sciences. CRC Press, pp. 375-376. ISBN 0-8493-2327-4.
  2. ^ a b c d McGee, Harold (November 16, 2004). On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. Simon and Schuster, pp. 247-248. ISBN 0-684-80001-2.
  3. ^ Schlegel, Rolf H J (January 1, 2003). Encyclopedic Dictionary of Plant Breeding and Related Subjects. Haworth Press, p. 177. ISBN 1-56022-950-0.
  4. ^ a b Mauseth, James D. (April 1, 2003). Botany: An Introduction to Plant Biology. Jones and Bartlett, pp. 271-272. ISBN 0-7637-2134-4.
  5. ^ a b Spiegel-Roy, P.; E. E. Goldschmidt (August 28, 1996). The Biology of Citrus. Cambridge University Press, pp. 87-88. ISBN 0-521-33321-0.
  6. ^ Schlegel. Encyclopedic Dictionary, p. 5.
  7. ^ McGee. On Food and Cooking, p. 367.
  8. ^ COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2001/113/EC of 20 December 2001: relating to fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée intended for human consumption (PDF) L 10/72. Official Journal of the European Communities (20 December 2001).
  9. ^ For a United States Supreme Court ruling on the matter, see Nix v. Hedden.
  10. ^ McGee. On Food and Cooking, p. 501.
  11. ^ Lewis. CRC Dictionary of Agricultural Sciences, p. 238.
  12. ^ Mauseth. Botany, Chapter 9: Flowers and Reproduction.
  13. ^ Schlegel. Encyclopedic Dictionary, p. 123.
  14. ^ Schlegel. Encyclopedic Dictionary, p. 16.
  15. ^ McGee. On Food and Cooking, pp. 361-362.
  16. ^ McGee. On Food and Cooking, pp. 364-365.
  17. ^ Schlegel. Encyclopedic Dictionary, p. 282.
  18. ^ Parker, Philip M. (December 1, 2004). Morinda Citrifolia - A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References. ICON Group. ISBN 0-497-00758-4.
  19. ^ a b c Capon, Brian (February 25, 2005). Botany for Gardeners. Timber Press, pp. 198-199. ISBN 0-88192-655-8.
  20. ^ Heiser, Charles B. (April 1, 2003). Weeds in My Garden: Observations on Some Misunderstood Plants. Timber Press, pp. 93-95. ISBN 0-88192-562-4.
  21. ^ Heiser. Weeds in My Garden, pp. 162-164.
  22. ^ Feldkamp, Susan (2002). Modern Biology. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, pp. 634. ISBN 0-88192-562-4.
  23. ^ McGee. On Food and Cooking, Chapter 7: A Survey of Common Fruits.
  24. ^ McGee. On Food and Cooking, Chapter 6: A Survey of Common Vegetables.
  25. ^ Farrell, Kenneth T. (November 1, 1999). Spices, Condiments and Seasonings. Springer, pp. 17-19. ISBN 0-8342-1337-0.
  26. ^ Adams, Denise Wiles (February 1, 2004). Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940. Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-619-1.
  27. ^ Booth, Martin (June 12, 1999). Opium: A History. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-20667-4.
  28. ^ Cothran, James R. (November 1, 2003). Gardens and Historic Plants of the Antebellum South. University of South Carolina Press, pp. 221. ISBN 1-57003-501-6.
  29. ^ K, Amber (December 1, 2001). Candlemas: Feast of Flames. Llewellyn Worldwide, pp. 155. ISBN 0-7387-0079-7.
  30. ^ Adrosko, Rita J. (June 1, 1971). Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing: A Practical Guide with over 150 Recipes. Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-22688-3.
  31. ^ Wake, Warren (March 13, 2000). Design Paradigms: A Sourcebook for Creative Visualization. John Wiley and Sons, pp. 162-163. ISBN.
  32. ^ The Many Uses of the Coconut. The Coconut Museum. Retrieved on 2006-09-14.

External links

Wikibooks Cookbook has an article on
  • Images of fruit development from flowers at
  • Fruit and seed dispersal images at
  • Fruit Facts from California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
  • Fruit Facts & Activities
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