Here are some definitions on fruits, vegetables and herbs.
This is any edible part of a plant, and in my opinion excludes the fruiting part (seeds containing structure). Vegetables therefore are stems, leaves, flowers, roots, bulbs and tubers.
Stem vegetables include: Celery, kohl rabi, asparagus
Leaves: Lettuce, cabbage, spinach
Flowers: Broccoli, cauliflower
Roots: Beet, carrots, parsnip, radish, turnip, swede, salsify
Tubers: Potato, yam, sweet potato, yaro
Bulbs: Onions, garlic
The botanical definition of a fruit is the mature ovary of a flower and contains seeds. The fleshy part of the fruit may be soft or dry. Therefore fruits can be apples, pears and mango with which we are all familiar, but fruits also include tomatoes, cucumber, beans, squash and eggplant.
As with everything in life fruits can be differentiated into various fruit types, based upon the number of ovaries and overall fruit structure:
A quick look at fruits
Dehiscent - pea
Drupes – plum
Accessory - strawberry
Syconium – fig
Indehiscent - wall nut
Berry – redcurrant
Balausta - pomegranate
Sorosis - mulberry
Pome - apple
Fruit develops from a single/compound ovary of a single flower with a single. These include dry and fleshy fruits. Dry fruits are further classified into dehiscent (split upon ripening) and indehiscent (do not split upon ripening).
Fleshy simple fruit include; drupes, berries (hesperidium, pepo) and pomes.
· Berries: ‘Soft fruit’ containing many seeds in one fruit - redcurrant, gooseberry, tomato, cranberry, pepper, eggplant
o Hesperidium: Berry with a leathery rind and segmented fruit pulp - all citrus
o Pepo: Berry with watery flesh and flat seeds – Cucurbit/gourd family (squash, cucumber, melon, pumpkin, watermelon)
· Pomes: The fruits from the Rosaceae family that develop from a half-inferior ovary – apples, pears, rosehips, saskatoon berry
|Pumpkin - a berry!|
Dry simple fruits include; dehiscent (follicle, legume, silique, capsule) and indehiscent (samara, achene, caryopsis, nut).
· Dehiscent: Ovary splits upon maturing
o Follicle: Pod formed from a single carpel and splits on one side – milkweed, peony, magnolia
o Legume: Pod from a leguminous plant (fixes own nitrogen for growth) – pea, bean, soya, peanut
o Silique: Long pods from the mustard family and splits from both sides – fruits/seeds of the cabbage family (not the cabbage/leafy part we eat!)
o Capsule: Pod formed from two carpels – brazil nut, horse chestnut, poppy, lily,
· Indehiscent: Ovary does not split upon maturing
o Samara: Single seeded fruit with a flat and fibrous winged structure has formed over the ovary, to be carried by the wind – sycamore, elm seeds
o Achene: Single seeded fruit – buckwheat, buttercup
o Caryopsis: Single seeded fruit where the pericarp is fused to the seed – cereals, grass seeds
o Nut: Hard fruit or shell encasing the seed – acorn, hazelnut, wall nut
|Pea - dehiscent, legume|
Fruit develops from multiple ovaries. Two categories of compound fruit exist - aggregate and multiple fruits
· Multiple: Coalesced ovaries of an entire interflorescence (the flowering structure)
o Accessory: Fruit not formed from the ovary, but from an exterior nonovarian tissue, such as the receptacle, which forms the base of the flower stem – strawberry
o Balausta: Old term for the fruits of the pomegranate - it is now known as a 'Hyp', a multiple of drupes
· Aggregate: Many ovaries attached to a single receptacle forming fruitlets
o Syconium: ‘Receptacle fruit’, flowers/fruit and seeds form within the stem/receptacle. Each fig has its own specialist fig wasp for pollination, fig and wasp are dependent on the other and co-evolve together – Ficus family, figs
o Sorosis: The fruit is formed by the consolidation of many ovaries – mulberry
|Multiple fruit, Strawberry|
This is a simple guide; as many fruits fall into multiple categories and some are further differentiated in the main categories. Check out http://www.northernontarioflora.ca/fruits_term_types.cfm for a complete list – but make sure you know the botany terms for flower and fruit structures first J or refer to this amazing book form Oxford University Press – The New Oxford Book of Food Plants or the Saving Seeds book References.
- 28 Dec 2011-