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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 include: blackberry, custard apple, raspberry, soursop, strawberry, and sugar apple.
Examples of multiple fruits include: breadfruit, fig, jackfruit, mulberry, osage orange, pineapple.
As mentioned above, accessory fruits can be simple, aggregate, or multiple. Examples of accessory fruits include:
Other examples of accessory fruits include the banana, cucumber, melon, and squash.
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.
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).
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