Special Sub-Topic: Name That Fruit -- Botanically Speaking
|Most of us enjoy eating corn on the cob in the summer. But what type of fruit is corn?|
caryopsis. A caryopsis is a dry fruit (a fruit with a hard texture) that is indehiscent (fruit does not open when it matures) and is composed of a single carpel (female reproductive organ of the flower) in which the pericarp (tissue surrounding the seed) sticks tightly to the seed. Wheat and rice are other plants that have caryopsis fruits.
|No one likes having those pesky dandelions growing in their lawn.
What type of fruit do they have? |
achene. An achene, like a caryopsis, is a dry fruit that is indehiscent and composed of a single carpel. Unlike a caryopsis, the pericarp does not stick to the seed. Sunflowers also have achene fruits.
|Do you remember playing with those winged maple seeds that spun in the air like a helicopter? What is the botanical name for that helicopter fruit?|
samara. A samara is a special type of achene in which tissue from the ovary wall of the flower forms a thin flat wing. Ashes and elms also have samara fruits.
|Who doesn't like eating fresh strawberries or strawberry shortcake? Just what is the botanical name for the strawberry fruit?|
achene. Names can be deceiving. The red fleshy part of the strawberry is not part of the actual fruit. Those tiny "flecks" on the surface of the strawberry are the achene fruits. The strawberry is also known as an accessory fruit because the red fleshy part is an accessory to the fruit.
|Everyone knows spring has arrived when the magnolias are in bloom, but what is the name of the magnolia fruit?|
follicle. The follicle is a dry fruit that is made up of a single carpel that is dehiscent (the fruit opens up when it matures). Upon maturation, the carpel will spit open along one side of the fruit. Milkweeds also have follicle fruits.
|As a kid, did your mom always have to tell you to eat your string beans? Just what kind of fruit were you eating?|
legume. A legume is a dry fruit that is very similar to a follicle except that upon maturation, the carpel will split along two sides of the fruit. Peas and the black locust are other examples of plants that have legume fruits.
|"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" is a line from a popular Christmas tune. What kind of fruit is a chestnut?|
nut. Did you go with the obvious? A nut is a dry fruit that is indehiscent. The pericarp becomes extremely hard and the seed does not attach to it. The fruits of the oak, pecan, and walnut are also nuts.
|Did you eat peanuts at baseball games when you were a kid? What kind of fruit is a peanut?|
legume. Sometimes the "obvious" is incorrect. The peanut is not a nut but a legume just like the string bean.
|As a kid did you hate eating brussel sprouts? What kind of fruit is produced by the brussel sprout?|
silique. A silique is similar to a legume in that it is a dry, dehiscent fruit that splits along two sides of the fruit. It differs in that a silque is compsed of two carpels. The silique is common fruit of the cabbage family.
|Poppy seed bagels are one of my favorites. What is the fruit of the poppy?|
capsule. A capsule is a dry fruit that is dehiscent and is composed of many carpels. Upon maturity, the capsule (depending upon the plant species) splits open along each carpel, splits between each carpel, or as in the case of the poppy, seeds are released from openings that form at the top of the capsule (like a salt shaker). Orchids, willows and cotton are other plants that have capsule fruits. I hope you enjoyed this botanical fruit quiz!
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