Fruits Vs. Vegetables

Fruits Vs. Vegetables

While this  may not seem like an argument, suspend disbelief for one second and indulge me, do you actually know the difference between fruits and vegetables? This may seem subjective, but that is probably because you are thinking about it in terms of what you eat and not botanically. So, gardeners and chefs may define their produce very differently. The botanical definition of a fruit is: the seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a plant, while a vegetable is defined as:…well vegetable isn’t actually a botanical term  (it is a culinary term) and so is considered to be all other plant parts, i.e. leaves, stems and roots etc.. A plant that bears seed-containing fruit may also produce edible vegetative bits, but we generally know the plants we eat by the most commonly found edible portion: lettuce, spinach and kale=leaves, broccoli and cauliflower=flowers, carrots, potatoes and turnips=roots, peas and beans=seeds. And typically fruit produce found in the grocery store includes, apples, squash, peppers and tomatoes. Mushrooms are always found with fruits and vegetables, but belong to an entirely different kingdom and so are technically neither, in spite of their nutrient and vitamin packed, delicious taste.

So while vegetables bear no further distinction past being the edible, vegetative portion of a plant, fruits actually come in various types:

Fleshy fruit or stone fruit, in botany these are termed "drupes" and include, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, olives and cherries. This type of fruit has a fleshy pericarp (fruit wall) which is soft and juicy at maturity surrounding a hard seed.

Fleshy fruit or stone fruit, in botany these are termed “drupes” and include, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, olives and cherries. This type of fruit has a fleshy pericarp (fruit wall) which is soft and juicy at maturity surrounding a hard seed.

Dry fruit such as peas, beans, corn, wheat and oats are defined as such due to their pericarp becoming dry and hard at maturity. This category of fruits has further definitions and classifications based on how fruits open and where seeds are located.

Dry fruit such as peas, beans, corn, wheat and oats are defined as such due to their pericarp becoming dry and hard at maturity. This category of fruits has further definitions and classifications based on how fruits open and where seeds are located.

Strawberries and raspberries are examples of a compound fruit (fruit formed from numerous carpels of one flower) termed an aggregate fruit. This means they are formed from a cluster of ripened ovaries produced by one flower.

Strawberries and raspberries are examples of a compound fruit (fruit formed from numerous carpels of one flower) termed an aggregate fruit. This means they are formed from a cluster of ripened ovaries produced by one flower.

 

 

 

A multiple fruit is a compound fruit which arises from several ripened ovaries from several flowers. Examples are the pineapple and mulberry.

A multiple fruit is a compound fruit which arises from several ripened ovaries from several flowers. Examples are the pineapple and mulberry.

Accessory fruits, such as apples and pears, develop from one or more ripened ovaries with tissues from another floral part.

Accessory fruits, such as apples and pears, develop from one or more ripened ovaries with tissues from another floral part.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are just broad categories of commonly found and eaten fruit types, the definitions can get more complex and distinct. If you are interested in more advanced characterization of fruit types visit: http://www.virtualherbarium.org/glossary/glossary.php?cid=65.