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The Fruit: Parts of Fruit, Types of Fruit, Practice Problems and FAQs

What comes to your mind when you hear of fruits? Apples, mangoes, bananas, grapes and the list goes on. But have you wondered where the fruit comes from? Do all plants bear fruits? Well let me tell you that the fruit is a characteristic feature of the flowering plants only. The ovary of the flower matures or ripens after fertilisation, to form a fruit.

But did you know that apples are not considered to be a true fruit?? In fact, why do you think mango has a single seed and jackfruit has so many?? Continue reading if you want to find the answers to these questions.

flowers of fruit

Table of Contents

Parts of a Fruit

The fruit is composed of two main parts -

  • A fruit wall or pericarp
  • A seed enclosed by the fruit wall

parts of fruit

Pericarp

Ripened ovary wall forms the fruit wall known as the pericarp. It is differentiated into 3 layers

  • Epicarp - Skin (Outermost layer)
  • Mesocarp - Tissue between epicarp and endocarp (Middle layer)
  • Endocarp - Innermost layer covering of the seed 

pericarp

Seed

It is the mature ovule and has the growing embryo enclosed within it.

Types of Fruits

  • Depending on how fruits are formed, fruits can be classified into three main categories:

True Fruits

False Fruits

Parthenocarpic Fruits

Develops from a mature superior ovary.

Develops from parts of the flower other than the ovary.

Fruits develop without fertilisation of the egg cell. 

 

Such fruits are seedless and occur naturally or can be artificially induced. 

Eg: Peas, Grapes, Mango, Coconut

Eg : In apple and pear the fleshy edible part of the fruit develops from the swollen thalamus.

Eg: seedless varieties of banana, watermelon and grapes.

1

1

1

 

  • Based on the number of flowers that form the fruit and whether the gynoecium involved has free or fused carpels, fruits can again be classified as -

number of flowers

Simple Fruits

A simple fruit is the one that develops from a single ovary containing one or more carpels. Simple fruits can develop from -

Monocarpellary ovary

Multicarpellary syncarpous ovary

One carpel with 

  • one ovule
  • many ovules

Many carpels fused in a flower to form a single ovary.

Eg: Apricot and mango (one carpel with one ovule)

Peas (one carpel with many ovules)

Eg: Orange

simple fruit


 

1

Types of Simple Fruits

Fleshy fruit

Dry fruit

Pericarp is differentiated into epicarp, mesocarp and endocarp

Pericarp is dry and not differentiated into 3 layers

Types of Fleshy Fruits

fleshy fruit

Drupe

Fruits develop from monocarpellary, superior ovaries. There is the presence of characteristic stony endocarp. The pericarp is well differentiated into outer epicarp, middle mesocarp and inner endocarp. Mesocarp is either pulpy and edible as in mango or fibrous and inedible as in coconut. Epicarp forms the outer skin and is edible in fruits like plum, peach, etc and inedible in fruits like mango, walnut, coconut, etc.

fleshy fruit-drupe

Berry

It is the fruit that develops from mono or multicarpellary, syncarpous ovaries. Ovary may be superior or inferior. Characteristic stony endocarp is absent. In superior berries, all parts of the pericarp are edible, e.g, tomato. Examples include tomatoes, dates, grapes, etc.

berry

Pome

It is a false fruit. The edible fleshy part is the thalamus. Examples include pear, peach, apple, etc.

pome
 

Types of Dry fruits

Dry - dehiscent fruits

Dry-indehiscent fruits

Pericarp dehisces/ruptures after maturing and seeds are dispersed.

Pericarp does not dehisce/rupture even after maturing.

Dry dehiscent fruits are many-seeded.

Dry indehiscent fruits are single-seeded.

E.g, peas

E.g., litchi.

Dry Fruits - Dehiscent 

Some of the types of simple dry dehiscent fruits are -

Legume

Capsule

Develops from monocarpellary, unilocular, superior gynoecium.

Develops from bi or multicarpellary, syncarpous gynoecium.

Dehiscence starts from apex and progresses towards the base and occurs by both dorsal and ventral sutures.

Dehiscence occurs in multiple ways such as along the dorsal sutures of the ovary (cotton), by pores (poppy), etc.

legume

capsule

Dry Fruits - Indehiscent

Some of the types of dry indehiscent fruits are - 

Cypsela

Caryopsis

Nut

  • Small, one seeded dry fruit
  • Develops from bicarpellary, syncarpous, inferior ovary
  • Characterised by persistent hair like pappus calyx.
  • One seeded dry fruit.
  • Develop from monocarpellary, superior ovary.
  • Thin and dry pericarp is fused with the seed coat.
  • Single seeded fruit
  • Develops from bi or multicarpellary, syncarpous, inferior ovary.
  • Pericarp is hard.

Example - Dandelion

Example - Cereals

Example - Cashewnut, hazelnut, etc.

cypsela

caryopsis

nut

Aggregate Fruits

They develop from a multicarpellary apocarpous ovary, i.e, the flower has multiple free carpels. These fruits form an aggregate of fruitlets. The fruitlets develop from multiple free ovaries of a single flower known as the etaerio. Example - custard apple, raspberry, etc.

aggregate fruit

Composite/Multiple Fruit

They develop from an inflorescence. Unfused ovaries of many flowers combine to form a fruit. Example - Pineapple, jackfruit, etc.

composite multiple fruit inflorescence

Practice Problems of Fruits

Question 1. Anil’s mother bought a seedless variety of watermelon. What type of fruit do you think it is?

a. Parthenocarpic fruit
b. True fruit
c. Apomictic fruit
d. False fruit

Solution: Seedless fruits that form without the fertilisation of the ovary are known as parthenocarpic fruits. It is naturally or artificially produced. It resembles the normal fruit in appearance. Examples are banana, tomato, oranges, kiwi, pineapple, etc.

Question 2. With respect to mango, match the following.

Part of the fruit

Description

A. Epicarp

1. Fleshy

B. Mesocarp

2. Hard and stony

C. Endocarp

3. Thin

a. A - 1, B - 3, C 2
b. A - 2, B - 3, C - 1
c. A - 3, B - 1, C - 2
d. A - 2, B - 1, C - 3

Solution: In mango, the pericarp or fruit wall is well differentiated into an outer thin epicarp, a middle fleshy mesocarp and an inner stony hard endocarp.
Thus, the correct option is c.

Question 3. Legume fruit is found in

a. Gram, arhar, sem, moong and soybean
b. Sweet pea, Sesbania, Trifolium
c. Groundnut, Indigofera, sunhemp, Pisum
d. All of the above

Solution: Legume fruits belong to the members of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family. 

Legume fruits, also known as pods, are formed from the superior unilocular ovary of a monocarpellary pistil. They are simple, many seeded, dry and dehiscent fruits where the pericarp splits open and exposes the seeds. Both dorsal and ventral sutures (sides) dehisce the mature fruit. Gram, arhar, sem, moong and soybean, sweet pea, Sesbania, Trifolium, groundnut, Indigofera, sunhemp, Pisum and lentils all belong to the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family. Thus the legume fruits are found in all of them.
Hence, the correct option is d.

Question 4. Drupe fruit develops from

a. Monocarpellary superior ovaries
b. Monocarpellary inferior ovaries
c. Polycarpellary superior ovaries
d. Bicarpellary superior ovaries

Solution: Drupe or stone fruit is a simple fleshy fruit that develops from a monocarpellary superior ovary. Drupe is usually one-seeded. The pericarp is differentiated into outer epicarp, fleshy mesocarp and a stony endocarp. So the correct option is a.

FAQs of Fruits

Question 1. Which part of the flower forms a fruit?

Solution: Fruit is a natural or ripened ovary which develops after fertilisation. The fruit consists of a wall or pericarp and seeds. The pericarp can be dry or fleshy. If the pericarp is thick and fleshy, it is differentiated into the outer part called epicarp, a middle part called mesocarp and an inner part called the endocarp. Fruit formed without fertilisation of the ovary is called parthenocarpic.

Question 2. What is an aggregate fruit ?

Solution: An aggregate fruit develops from multicarpellary (several carpels) apocarpous (free carpels) gynoecium of a single flower. Such types of aggregate fruits are known as ‘etaerio’ (means group). Example: Raspberry.

Question 3. In which category does the drupe of coconut fall in ?

Solution: A drupe develops from a monocarpellary gynoecium having a superior ovary and is one seeded. It has a characteristic stony endocarp that surrounds the seed. Example: Mango, coconut.

Question 4. Is an apple a fruit?

Solution: Apple is a false fruit in which the edible part develops from the fleshy thalamus of the flower.

Other Related Topics

The Living World Biological Classification Plant Kingdom
Animal Kingdom Morphology of Flowering Plants Anatomy of Flowering Plants
Structural Organization in Animals Cells: The Unit of Life Biomolecules
Cell Cycle and Division Transport in Plants Mineral Nutrition
Photosynthesis in Higher Plants Respiration in Plants Plant Growth and Development
Digestion and Absorption Breathing and Exchange of Gases Body Fluids and Circulation
Excretory Products and their Elimination Locomotion and Movement Neural Control and Coordination
Chemical Coordination and Integration

Other Related Topic Of Biology

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