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Fruit

Botanically, a fruit is the ripened ovary of a flowering plant, dry or moist and fleshy. When discussing food, the term usually refers to fruits that are sweet and fleshy, especially ones that are not usually consumed by themselves at supper.

The two concepts partially overlap. Some culinary fruits are not fruits in the botanical sense, for example rhubarb: only the stems are edible.

On the other hand, some botanical fruits are not considered fruits in a culinary context. Gourds (e.g. pumpkins), tomatoes, and green peppers are fruits in the botanical sense, but are treated as vegetables in cooking. Some spices, such as allspice and nutmeg are botanically fruits. Some gymnosperms[?], such as juniper, have fleshy arils[?] that resemble fruits.

Fig is an example of false fruit.

Development

After being fertilized, the ovary begin to expand, the petals fall off quickly, the stamen can stick to the base of the ovary for a while. Ovules[?] develop into seeds. When the ovary becomes fleshy, it is a fruit. It continues to expand until the seeds have matured.

Variations

Some fruits have coats covered with spikes or hooked burrs, to prevent themselves from being eaten by animals and/or to stick to the hairs of animals, using them as dispersal agents.

Others fruits are elongated and flattened out naturally and become so thin like wings or helicopter. This is also an evolutionary mechanism to increase disperal distance.

See also

Most of the above are included in a classification of flowering plants, starting at Magnoliophyta. I know it's incomplete and has been growing only slowly, but I'm nowhere close to an expert. Anyway, pages on the above could link back to families like Rosaceae, once those exist.



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