Note on Fruits

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(a) True fruit (mango) (b) False fruit (apple)
fig: (a) True fruit (mango) (b) False fruit (apple)

Fruit can be defined as the matured ripened ovary containing seeds. It consists of two parts, pericarp that is a fruit wall and is differentiated into three layers which are outer epicarp, middle mesocarp, and innermost endocarp. The fruit which develops without fertilization is called parthenocarpic fruit. Eg: banana. There are two types of fruits, true fruits which develop from the ovary of a flower and false fruit that develops from the fusion of floral parts with the pericarp. On the basis of pericarp and the condition of the gynoecium, fruits are divided into three types.

  1. Simple fruits
  2. Aggregate fruits
  3. Composite or multiple fruits

Simple fruits sourced

Dry and dehiscent fruits
fig: Dry and dehiscent fruits

Simple fruits develop from a single matured ovary in a single flower. It is of two types:

  1. Dry fruits
  2. Succulent or fleshy fruits

Dry fruits

It is of following types:

Dehiscent fruits or capsular fruits: Pericarp has burst automatically after ripening and seeds are dispersed due to internal pressure. It is of following types:

Legume or pod: composed of a single carpel, unilocular, superior ovary and after maturation burst along with both ventral and dorsal sutures. Eg: pea.

Follicle: composed of one carpel and split along a single suture, ventral suture. Eg: Calotropis.

Siliqua: syncarpous, composed of two carpels which separate at maturity, leaving a persistent partition between them. Eg: Brassica.

Silicula: It resembles the siliqua but it is much shorter and flattened that contains only a few seeds. Eg: Capsella.

Capsule: multi-seeded, unilocular, bi carpellary or polycarpellary ovary. It dehisces by various methods. Eg: cotton.

Porous: develops from polycarpellary, syncarpous, superior ovary, multilocular fruit with many seeds and it dehisces by various method. Eg: poppy.

Indehiscent fruits:

Caryopsis of maize (a) External view (b) V.S of grain
fig: Caryopsis of maize (a) External view (b) V.S of grain

These fruits do not rupture after ripening and seeds remain inside the pericarp but are liberated by the decay of pericarp. They are two types:

Caryopsis: A dry, indehiscent, one-seeded fruit in which the seed is firmly attached to the fruit at all possible points. Eg: rice.

Cypsela: One-chambered and one-seeded fruit that develops from bicarpellary, syncarpous, unilocular, inferior ovary. Eg: sunflower.

Achene: A dry, indehiscent, one-seeded fruit that develops from the simple ovary, with the seed attached to the fruit at one point only. Eg: Clematiis.

Nut: A hard, one-seeded fruit, generally formed from a compound ovary, with the pericarp hard or woody. The pericarp may be entirely or partly surrounded by an involucre consisting of fused sepals, bracts, and bracteoles. Eg: litchi.

Dry or Indehiscent fruits
fig:Dry or Indehiscent fruits

Shizocarpic fruits: consisting of two carpels which at maturity separate along the midline into two one-seeded halves, each of which is indehiscent. This is of following types:

Carcerulus: Develops from a superior bilocular to a multilocular ovary, breaks up into single-seeded mericarps at maturity. Eg: garden nastritum.

Lomentum: develops from the monocarpellary superior ovary, breaks up into single-seeded mericarps. Eg: radish

Cremocarp: Develops from an inferior, bicarpellary ovary and when ripe, it splits into two indehiscent one-seeded mericarps. Eg: carrot

schizocarpic fruit
fig: schizocarpic fruit

Succulent or fleshy fruits

Drupe: A fleshy indehiscent simple fruit that develops from a simple ovary, with the layers of the pericarp distinctly separated. The endocarp which encloses the seed is hard and woody or stone-like. In most fruits, the mesocarp is fleshy when ripe (e.g. mango). Eg: cherry.

Berry: A fleshy, indehiscent simple fruit derived from a simple or compound ovary, having one or many seeds, with a soft and fleshy pericarp or most of it. Eg: tomato.

Felshy fruits
fig: Fleshy fruits

Pepo: fleshy, many-seeded developing from an inferior, one-celled or three-celled syncarpous pistil with partial placentation. Eg: members of Cucurbitaceae.

Pome: develops from an inferior, two or one chambered, syncarpous ovary surrounded by the fleshy thalamus and are many seeded. Eg: apple.

Hesperidium: a superior, many seeded, fleshy fruits develops from syncarpous pistil with axile placentation. It is a special type of berry with a leathery rind and is segmented. Eg: orange.

Felshy fruits
fig: Fleshy fruits

Aggregate fruits

Aggregate Fruits
fig: Aggregate Fruits

Aggregate fruits consist of a number of matured ovaries formed in a single flower and arranged over the surface of a single receptacle. Individual ovaries are called fruitlets. An aggregate of single fruits borne by a single flower is known as etaerio. It is of following types:

Etaerio of achenes: It consists of a group of achene that develops from a single carpel of the apocarpous pistil. Eg: Strawberry.

Etaerio of follicles: The individual fruitlet is similar with that of the normal follicle and all the follicles are attached or aggregated to the same axis. Eg: Michelia.

Etaerio of drupes: It consists of a number of small drupes that develops from different carpels of a flower. Eg: Raspberry.

Etaerio of berries: Develops from different carpels, the apical parts of berries fuse each other and make a common ring. Eg: custard apple.

Multiple or composite fruits

It is a group of fruits that develop from the different flowers of an inflorescence. It is of two types:

Sorosis: It develops from spike or spadix, or female catkin inflorescence. Eg: mulberry

Syconus: It develops from a hollow pear-shaped fleshy thalamus. After fertilization the hollow receptacle becomes fleshy. Eg: banyan.

composite fruits
fig: composite fruits


Structure of Bean seeds
fig: Structure of Bean seeds

The plant seed is an organ found in plant shoot, attached to the stem, and originating from a flower. It is a structure that is formed by the maturation of the ovule within the ovary of the angiosperms. It is often described as a mature ovule. The primary function of seeds is the reproduction in which plants perpetuate themselves, mainly sexually. The seed is widely used in the deliberate production of seedlings, known as plant propagation. The seeds of angiosperms are enclosed in an ovary that develops into a fruit, such as a pome or a nut. The seed with endosperms are called endospermic and the seed without endosperms are called non-endospermic. Many angiosperms have evolved specific fruits for dispersal of seeds by the wind, water, or animals.


  • The fruits which develop  without fertilization is called parthenocarpic fruit.
  • A fruit that develops only from the ovary of the flower is called true fruit.
  • A fruit that develops from the fusion of floral parts with pericarp is called false fruit.
  • A simple fruit develops from the monocarpellary ovary or multi carpellary, syncarpous ovary of a  flower, with or without other parts.
  • A fruit that develops from the apocarpous ovary of a flower is called an aggregate fruit.
  • The plant seed is an organ found in plant shoot, attached to the stem, and originating from a flower.

Very Short Questions



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makshye narayan sainju

how is plant reproductive system?

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