Hunter's Woods PH

Montessori Biology

Types of Fruits

Learn about the different types of fruits: simple, aggregate, and multiple, as well as dry and fleshy (succulent). Use the free worksheets to reinforce learning.


  • Types of fruits
    • What is a simple fruit?
    • What is an aggregate fruit?
    • What is a multiple fruit?
    • What is an accessory fruit?
  • Dry vs. fleshy fruits
    • What is a fleshy (or succulent) fruit?
    • What is a dry fruit?
    • Are strawberries dry or fleshy?
  • Examples of simple fruits
    • Dry simple fruits
    • Simple fleshy fruits
  • Examples of aggregate fruits
  • Examples of multiple fruits
    • Are grapes simple, aggregate, or multiple fruits?
  • Compound fruits
  • Worksheets

What are the types of fruits?

There are three types of fruits: (1) simple, (2) aggregate, and (3) multiple / composite / collective.

When a single fruit develops from a single ovary of a single flower with only one pistil, it is called a simple fruit. An apple is an example of a simple fruit.

When a single flower has several ovaries, each of which develop into fruitlets, which then merge into a single fruit, it is called an aggregate fruit (or etaerio). A strawberry is an example of an aggregate fruit.

When, in a cluster of flowers (inflorescence), each flower produces a fruit, and all the fruits merge into a single mass (infructescence), it is called a multiple or composite fruit. A pineapple is an example of a multiple fruit.


  • Simple fruit – 1 flower, 1 ovary
  • Aggregate fruit – 1 flower, many ovaries
  • Multiple fruit – many flowers, many ovaries

An accessory fruit is a fruit in which some of its flesh comes not just from the ovary but also from surrounding tissues. Single, aggregate, and multiple fruits can also be accessory fruits. In fact, the examples given above — apples (a simple fruit), strawberries (an aggregate fruit), and pineapples (a multiple fruit) — are also accessory fruits. Fruits that are NOT accessory fruits are sometimes referred to as “true” fruits.

Dry vs. Fleshy Fruits

Fruits are also described as either fleshy (succulent) or dry fruits.

Fleshy (or succulent) fruits are those that consist mostly of soft, succulent tissue at maturity, such as tomatoes.

Dry fruits are those whose pericarp is dry at maturity, such as nuts.

  • Dry fruits that split open along definite seams are called dehiscent dry fruits.
  • Dry fruits that do not split open and usually contain only one seed are called indehiscent dry fruits.

In botany texts, dry and fleshy fruits are subtypes under simple fruits; however, aggregate and multiple fruits are also sometimes described as dry or fleshy.

Are strawberries dry or fleshy?

Despite the fact that strawberries appear fleshy, they are actually botanically classified as a dry fruit. A strawberry is an aggregate-accessory fruit, whose fleshy part is not derived from the flower’s ovaries but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries.

Examples of Simple Fruits

Examples of plants with dry simple fruits include: barley, corn, legumes (such as beans, peas, and peanuts), nuts (such as beech, chestnut, hazelnut, oak acorn, and pecan), oats, rice, rye, strawberry, wheat, and wild potato.

Examples of plants with simple fleshy fruits include: apple, apricot, avocado, banana, blueberry, canteloupe, cherry, cucumber, currant, eggplant, grape, grapefruit, guava, kiwi, lemon, mango, nectarine, olive, orange, papaya, peach, pear, persimmon, plum, pumpkin, pomegranate, quince, squash, tomato, and watermelon.

Examples of Aggregate Fruits

Examples of aggregate fruits include: blackberry, custard apple, raspberry, soursop, strawberry, and sugar apple.

Examples of Multiple Fruits

Examples of multiple fruits include: breadfruit, fig, jackfruit, mulberry, osage orange, pineapple.

Examples of Accessory Fruits

As mentioned above, accessory fruits can be simple, aggregate, or multiple. Examples of accessory fruits include:

  • Fruits whose fleshy edible portions are actually swollen stem tissue, and whose central core is the true fruit:
    • apple
    • pear
  • Fruits whose accessory tissue is derived from the receptacle:
    • fig
    • mulberry
    • pineapple
    • strawberry

Other examples of accessory fruits include the banana, cucumber, melon, and squash.

Are grapes simple, aggregate, or multiple fruits?

Although grapes grow in clusters, each grape develops from one ovary in one flower, and they have not fused to form a single mass. Thus, grapes are simple fruits.

What is a compound fruit?

The term “compound fruit” is not used in formal botanical texts. Technically, it is not a type of fruit. Rather, “compound fruit” is a layman’s term that is sometimes used to refer to aggregate fruits (like strawberries), multiple fruits (like pineapples), or simple fruits formed from compound ovaries (like tomatoes).

Note on the Worksheets

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Types of Fruits Worksheet 1: Fleshy vs. Dry

Types of Fruits Worksheet 2: Simple vs. Aggregate vs. Multiple

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