Types Of Fruits

Botanists define a fruit as a mature ovary. Many different types of fruits have evolved among the flowering plants. Figure 30-11 shows examples of some of these fruit types. Fertilization usually initiates the development of fruits. Fruits protect seeds, aid in their dispersal, and often delay their sprouting. Fruits are classified mainly on the basis of two characteristics: how many pistils or flowers form the fruit, and whether the fruit is dry or fleshy. Table 30-1 presents a classification system for fruits. Notice that fruits with common names that include "nut" or "berry" may not be actual nuts or berries. For example, a peanut is actually a legume, not a nut. You may have heard the fleshy seeds of ginkgo, juniper, and yew trees referred to as berries. These names are misleading because ginkgo, juniper, and yew trees are gymnosperms, which do not form fruits.

figure 30-11
A pea pod is a simple fruit. A raspberry is an aggregate fruit. A pineapple is a multiple fruit.

TABLE 30-1 Fruit Classification

Major categories and types of fruits


Simple fruit—formed from one pistil of a single flower

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