Choose to Boost Veggies and Fruit • Thursday, August 24, 2017 I 9
what’s in a fruit?
Fruit come in all
shapes and sizes.
come to mind?
Can you name
all of the parts
Botanists (plant scientists) have
come up with different ways to
group fruits together based on how
their seeds develop when fertilized
(or are triggered to develop, even
without fertilization). Plants usually
develop soft, fleshy, sweet-tasting
fruit around their seeds so that
animals are more like to eat them
and drop them off elsewhere to
grow new plants. There are so many
different ways that fruits grow, that
it’s hard to come up with distinct
rules about how to classify them.
These classifications are generally
accepted in botany, but as always
in the science community, things
change and not everyone agrees all
Most fruit have the same layers
around their seeds but the layers are
different thicknesses, textures and
colours. The four main parts are:
• the seed – when planted in the
right conditions, seeds are able to
regrow a whole new plant
• the endocarp – this layer wraps
around the seed
• the mesocarp – this layer wraps
around the endocarp
• the exocarp – this layer wraps
around the mesocarp
Here are some of the most
common groups of fruit and
vegetables, and some of the
most common ones we eat
of each kind. Do any surprise
you? Are there any fruits that
we usually call vegetables?
Berries have soft and fleshy endocarps
and mesocarps, with a thin soft
exocarp. Berries usually contain
Examples: kiwi, tomato, banana, coffee,
currant, passionfruit, pepper, grapes
Pepos are large fruits with a hard outer
exocarp shell, and contain multiple
seeds. They are considered a type of
Examples: gourds (squash, pumpkin),
melon (cantaloupe, watermelon),
Drupes are soft, fleshy fruit that contain
a hard pit or ‘stone’ with one seed
inside. The stone is the endocarp, with
a thick, juicy mesocarp.
Examples: cherry, plum, nectarine,
Aggregate fruit refers to those where
many fruits are clustered together.
Examples: aggregate drupes
(raspberry, loganberry); each of the
little drupe in an aggregate drupe is
called a ‘drupelet’
Hesperidium fruit have waxy, leathery
exocarps, spongy mesocarps and an
endocarp made of many juice sacs in
several partitioned segments.
Examples: All citrus fruit (lemon, lime,
Accessory fruits are not traditional
fruits in that other parts of the flower
are also part of the ‘fruit’ we eat.
Strawberries are a good example: it
has all of its ‘true fruits’ as small on the
outside of a swollen ‘fleshy receptacle’.
Pomes are also accessory fruits
that have a papery complete fruit in
the middle, surrounded by a fleshy
protective layer. These internal
complete fruits contain multiple seeds
inside the papery inner chambers. All
pomes are produced by plants in the
Examples: apples, pears, quince
Multiple fruits are another type of
accessory fruit, as they have many
complete fruits and other parts of the
flower and stem fused together around
Examples: pineapple, figs, mulberry
Vegetables come in even more shapes
and sizes than fruits – imagine that!
Vegetables include edible leaves,
stems, tubers, bulbs and roots. Do you
know the differences between them
all? Let’s explore a bit more...
Just what you’d think – the leaves of
a plant. Some grow separately, and
some grow as a cluster.
Examples: romaine lettuce, iceberg
lettuce, kale, cabbage, bok choy,
arugula, herbs, brussel sprouts
Some flowers have clusters of ‘florets’
(small flowers). We often eat these
flowers if they do not develop into fruit.
Examples: broccoli, cauliflower,
Stems are the upright parts of the
plants from which leaves and flowers
Examples: asparagus, rhubarb,
All plants naturally produce seeds.
Some plants grow wet juicy protective
layers around their seeds which are
considered to be ‘fruit’. Other plants
grow drier layers around their seeds,
which include nuts and legumes.
Examples: peas, corn, peanuts,
walnuts, beans, lentil, chickpeas,
Part of some plants that grows just
below ground. Bulbs made up of
many clustered segments or layers
of specialized leaves that produce an
upright leafy shoot.
Examples: onion, garlic, fennel, shallot,
Part of some plants that grows
underground; usually long or roundshaped
with a narrow point at one end
Examples: carrots, parsnips, beet,
Tubers grow underground as part of a
plant’s root. These bulbous tubers are
used by the plant to store energy to
Examples: yam, potato, Jerusalem
Learn some Ancient Greek!
• comes from ‘karpos’
which means ‘fruit’
• Refers to the inner part
• comes from ‘éndon’
which means ‘within’
• “endocarp” means
“inside of fruit”
• Refers to the middle
part of something
• comes from ‘misos’
which means ‘middle’
• “mesocarp” means
“middle of fruit”
• Refers to the outer
part of something
• comes from ‘éxo’
• “exocarp” means
“outside of fruit”
Which type of fruit or vegetable are each of the following?
1) Pears: ________________
7) Celery: _______________
8) Radish: ______________
Answers: (1) Pome; (2) Pepo; (3) Leaf; (4) Drupe; (5) Tuber; (6) Aggregate Drupe; (7) Stalk; (8) Root; (9) Leaf; (10) Pepo; (11) Berry; (12) Hesperidium