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edibleandmed.gif (10658 bytes)Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places

By: "Wildman" Steve Brill

Book Excerpt:  FRUIT

When flowers’ ovaries ripen, they form fruit,
sometimes along with accessory tissues. The fruit’s
composition depends on the plant’s seed-dispersing
strategy. It need not even be fleshy: From a culinary
standpoint, nuts aren’t fruits, but botanically, they’re
one-seeded, dry fruits with hard outer walls, like
acorns or hazelnuts, that don’t open when mature
(Pods open when they mature).

Sunflower seeds fruits called achenes. Like nuts,
they’re one seeded fruits that don’t open when
mature, but the seed attaches to the inside of the shell
at one point.

Fleshy fruits are also distinctive. True berries, like
autumn olives, currants, and ground-cherries, are
thin-skinned fruits with seeds loosely embedded in a
soft, succulent pulp.

Peaches and plums are drupes: One hard stone or pit
encloses the seed. A pome, like an apple or pear, is a
many-seeded fruit that doesn’t open. Its fleshy portion
comes from the receptacle, not the ovary.

Individual fruits may also fuse, the way flowers
sometimes do: When the a flower cluster’s fruits form
a dense mass, you get a multiple fruit, like mulberries.
If the bunch of fused fruits comes from one flower
with multiple ovaries, you get an aggregate fruit, like a
raspberry or blackberry.

When a fruit’s fleshy part originates from a flower
part other than the ovary, it’s an accessory fruit: The
strawberry’s flesh, for example, comes from the
receptacle. It’s an accessory fruit, while its seeds are
achenes

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