Fruit

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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.<ref name=Lewis375>Lewis, Robert A. (January 1 2002). CRC Dictionary of Agricultural Sciences. CRC Press, pp. 375-376. ISBN 0-8493-2327-4.</ref> In cuisine, when discussing fruit as food, the term usually refers to just those plant fruits that are sweet and fleshy. Examples of which include plum, apple and orange. However, a great many common vegetables, as well as nuts and grains, are the fruit of the plant species they come from.<ref name=McGee247>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.</ref>

No one terminology really fits the enormous variety that is found among plant fruits.<ref>Schlegel, Rolf H J (January 1 2003). Encyclopedic Dictionary of Plant Breeding and Related Subjects. Haworth Press, p. 177. ISBN 1-56022-950-0.</ref> 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.<ref name=Mauseth271>Mauseth, James D. (April 1 2003). Botany: An Introduction to Plant Biology. Jones and Bartlett, pp. 271-272. ISBN 0-7637-2134-4.</ref>

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.<ref name=Spiegel87>Spiegel-Roy, P., E. E. Goldschmidt (August 28 1996). The Biology of Citrus. Cambridge University Press, pp. 87-88. ISBN 0-521-33321-0.</ref> Such fruits are seedless. A plant that does not produce fruit is known as acarpous, meaning "without fruit".<ref>Schlegel. Encyclopedic Dictionary, p. 5.</ref>

Contents

[edit] Botanic fruit and culinary fruit

Image:Fruitandveg.png
Venn diagram representing the relationship between botanical and culinary fruit and vegetables. Many culinary vegetables are botanical fruit.
Image:FruitArrangement.jpg
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.<ref name=McGee247 /> 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.<ref>McGee. On Food and Cooking, p. 367.</ref> 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.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> 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.<ref>For a United States Supreme Court ruling on the matter, see Nix v. Hedden.</ref>

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.<ref>McGee. On Food and Cooking, p. 501.</ref> 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.<ref>Lewis. CRC Dictionary of Agricultural Sciences, p. 238.</ref> Edible gymnosperms seeds are often misleadingly given fruit names, e.g. pine nuts, ginkgo nuts, and juniper berries.

[edit] 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 ped 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.<ref name=Mauseth271 />

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.<ref name=McGee247 />

There are three basic types of fruits:

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

[edit] 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).<ref>Schlegel. Encyclopedic Dictionary, p. 123.</ref> Types of dry, simple fruits (with examples) are:

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:

[edit] Aggregate fruit

Image:DewberriesWeb.jpg
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.<ref>Schlegel. Encyclopedic Dictionary, p. 16.</ref> 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.<ref>McGee. On Food and Cooking, pp. 361-362.</ref> The strawberry is also an aggregate-accessory fruit, only one in which the seeds are contained in achenes.<ref>McGee. On Food and Cooking, pp. 364-365.</ref> In all these examples, the fruit develops from a single flower with numerous pistils.

[edit] 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.<ref>Schlegel. Encyclopedic Dictionary, p. 282.</ref> Examples are the pineapple, edible fig, mulberry, osage-orange, and breadfruit.

Image:Noni fruit dev.jpg
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.<ref>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.</ref>

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

[edit] 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.<ref name=Spiegel87 />

[edit] 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.<ref name=Capon198>Capon, Brian (February 25 2005). Botany for Gardeners. Timber Press, pp. 198-199. ISBN 0-88192-655-8.</ref>

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.<ref>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.</ref><ref>Heiser. Weeds in My Garden, pp. 162-164.</ref>

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.<ref name=McGee247 />

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.<ref name=Capon198 />

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.<ref name=Capon198 />

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.<ref>Feldkamp, Susan (2002). Modern Biology. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, pp. 634. ISBN 0-88192-562-4.</ref>

[edit] Uses

Image:Stewed nectarines.JPG
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.<ref>McGee. On Food and Cooking, Chapter 7: A Survey of Common Fruits.</ref>

Many vegetables are botanical fruits, including tomato, bell pepper, eggplant, okra, squash, pumpkin, green bean, cucumber and zucchini.<ref>McGee. On Food and Cooking, Chapter 6: A Survey of Common Vegetables.</ref> 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.<ref>Farrell, Kenneth T. (November 1 1999). Spices, Condiments and Seasonings. Springer, pp. 17-19. ISBN 0-8342-1337-0.</ref>

[edit] 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.<ref>Adams, Denise Wiles (February 1 2004). Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940. Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-619-1.</ref>

Fruits of opium poppy are the source of the drugs opium and morphine.<ref>Booth, Martin (June 12 1999). Opium: A History. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-20667-4.</ref> Osage orange fruits are used to repel cockroaches.<ref>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.</ref> Bayberry fruits provide a wax often used to make candles.<ref>K, Amber (December 1 2001). Candlemas: Feast of Flames. Llewellyn Worldwide, pp. 155. ISBN 0-7387-0079-7.</ref> Many fruits provide natural dyes, e.g. walnut, sumac, cherry and mulberry.<ref>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.</ref> 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.<ref>Wake, Warren (March 13 2000). Design Paradigms: A Sourcebook for Creative Visualization. John Wiley and Sons, pp. 162-163. ISBN.</ref>

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.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

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[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Types of fruits
Berries | Drupes | Pomes | Aggregate fruits | False berries | Accessory fruit
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Fruit

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