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fruit, matured ovary of the pistil of a flower, containing the seed. After the egg nucleus, or ovum, has been fertilized (see fertilization) and the embryo plantlet begins to form, the surrounding ovule (see pistil) develops into a seed and the ovary wall (pericarp) around the ovule becomes the fruit. The pericarp consists of three layers of tissue: the thin outer exocarp, which becomes the “skin”; the thicker mesocarp; and the inner endocarp, immediately surrounding the ovule. A flower may have one or more simple pistils or a compound pistil made up of two or more fused simple pistils (each called a carpel); different arrangements give rise to different types of fruit. A new variety of fruit is obtained as a hybrid in plant breeding or may develop spontaneously by mutation.

Types of Fruits

Fruits are classified according to the arrangement from which they derive. There are four types—simple, aggregate, multiple, and accessory fruits. Simple fruits develop from a single ovary of a single flower and may be fleshy or dry. Principal fleshy fruit types are the berry, in which the entire pericarp is soft and pulpy (e.g., the grape, tomato, banana, pepo, hesperidium, and blueberry) and the drupe, in which the outer layers may be pulpy, fibrous, or leathery and the endocarp hardens into a pit or stone enclosing one or more seeds (e.g., the peach, cherry, olive, coconut, and walnut). The name fruit is often applied loosely to all edible plant products and specifically to the fleshy fruits, some of which (e.g., eggplant, tomatoes, and squash) are commonly called vegetables. Dry fruits are divided into those whose hard or papery shells split open to release the mature seed (dehiscent fruits) and those that do not split (indehiscent fruits). Among the dehiscent fruits are the legume (e.g., the pod of the pea and bean), which splits at both edges, and the follicle, which splits on only one side (e.g., milkweed and larkspur); others include the dry fruits of the poppy, snapdragon, lily, and mustard. Indehiscent fruits include the single-seeded achene of the buttercup and the composite flowers; the caryopsis (grain); the nut (e.g., acorn and hazelnut); and the fruits of the carrot and parsnip (not to be confused with their edible fleshy roots).

An aggregate fruit (e.g., blackberry and raspberry) consists of a mass of small drupes (drupelets), each of which developed from a separate ovary of a single flower. A multiple fruit (e.g., pineapple and mulberry) develops from the ovaries of many flowers growing in a cluster. Accessory fruits contain tissue derived from plant parts other than the ovary; the strawberry is actually a number of tiny achenes (miscalled seeds) outside a central pulpy pith that is the enlarged receptacle or base of the flower. The core of the pineapple is also receptacle (stem) tissue. The best-known accessory fruit is the pome (e.g., apple and pear), in which the fleshy edible portion is swollen stem tissue and the true fruit is the central core. The skin of the banana is also stem tissue, as is the rind of the pepo (berrylike fruit) of the squash, cucumber, and melon.

The Role of Fruits in Seed Dispersal

The structure of a fruit often facilitates the dispersal of its seeds. The “wings” of the maple, elm, and ailanthus fruits and the “parachutes” of the dandelion and the thistle are blown by the wind; burdock, cocklebur, and carrot fruits have barbs or hooks that cling to fur and clothing; and the buoyant coconut may float thousands of miles from its parent tree. Some fruits (e.g., witch hazel and violet) explode at maturity, scattering their seeds. A common method of dispersion is through the feces of animals that eat fleshy fruits containing seeds covered by indigestible coats.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a fleshy fruit with a hard, woodlike pit and a juicy (as in plums and cherries) or more or less dry (almond) or fibrous (coconut) outer layer. Drupes may have one pit (plum, almond) or many (raspberry). The juicy part of the drupe serves as food for animals (mainly birds), which disperse the seeds; it is also consumed by human beings in fresh or preserved form.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A fruit, such as a cherry, having a thin or leathery exocarp, a fleshy mesocarp, and a single seed with a stony endocarp. Also known as stone fruit.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


an indehiscent fruit consisting of outer epicarp, fleshy or fibrous mesocarp, and stony endocarp enclosing a single seed, as in the peach, plum, and cherry
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
We treat the fruits of this group uniformly as drupes with a single hard endocarp or "stone" (sclerocarp) representing one or more carpels, rather than speaking of multiple endocarps per fruit.
The assessment of the flavonoid contents in olive drupes showed significant variations among different cultivars and ripening stages, in agreement with the description available in the literature [13].
Moreover AY- sitosterol and -5-avenasterol influence drupe ripeness during fruit ripening while stigmasterol interferes with absorption of carotenoids and other fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin E and tocopherols (Ostlund et al.
The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately five millimeters (0.20 in) in diameter dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains
Among the topics are health promoting effects of cereal and cereal products, phenolic and beneficial bioactives in drupe fruits, phytochemical bioactives in berries, controlling mycotoxin bioactives in nuts from farm to fork, impacts of food and microbial processing on the bioactive phenolics of olive fruit products, and an analytical methodology for characterizing grape and wine phenolic bioactives.
Leaves oblong, more rarely ovate or obovate, (2-) 3-7(-16) x (2-)3-5(-9) cm, Fruit an ellipsoid drupe, laterally compressed, 3-4(-5) x 2.5-3(-3.5) mm, sparsely pubescent; style terminal to more rarely sub terminal; fruits borne on spike and ripen over a period of a few weeks and therefore harvested in more than one picking; fruits taste sour due to dominance by acids in spite of the presence of sugar.
Acerola, a drupe that originated in Central America and the southwest United States, is the richest source of vitamin C source known to man.
It also produces an upright drupe of burgundy-red berries that are attractive to birds and other forms of wildlife.
Fruit drupe, about 2.5 cm long, orange yellow, rounded at the ends, sweet, edible.
Each "true" flower produces a berry-like drupe, resulting in a cluster of attractive, bright red fruit.
The fruit - which is a drupe - encloses an elongated seed (a nut in culinary terms, but not a true nut in the botanical sense) with a hard, skeleton-coloured-shell and an eye-catching kernel, whose skin is washed-over in a reddish-mauve, beneath which is the pale-lime-green flesh of the kernel with a unique essence.
Rosaceae Rose Floral organs usually in 5s, fruit a drupe, pome, achene, aggregate, or follicle.