Northern Ontario Plant Database
1. Simple Fruits:
fruits that develop from a single flower with one pistil, with a simple or compound ovary.
1a. Fleshy Simple Fruits
- berry An indehiscent fruit derived from a superior ovary with a thin exocarp (skin) and fleshy mesocarp and endocarp, e.g., grape (Vitis, Vitaceae), tomatoes & eggplant (Solanum, Solanaceae), bell peppers & chili pepper (Capsicum, Solanaceae), date (Phoenix, Arecaceae), avocado (Persea, Lauraceae), persimmon (Diospyros, Ebenaceae), guava (Psidium, Myrtaceae).
- false berry - berry-like fruits derived from an inferior ovary; the fruit is formed from the ovary plus the hypanthium of the floral tube that surrounds the ovary; also called an epigynous berry, e.g., blueberries & cranberries (Vaccinium, Ericaceae), currants & gooseberries (Ribes, Grossulariaceae), bananas (Musa, Musaceae).
- pepo - a berry-like fruit with a thick, leathery or hard rind, derived from an interior ovary, e.g., cucumber (Cucumis), watermelon & other melons (Citrullus), pumpkin & squash (Cucurbita) - all in the Cucurbitaceae.
- hesperidium - a septate berry with a thick skin; most of the edible fruit formed by glandular hairs, e.g., citrus fruits: orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit (Citrus, Rutaceae).
- drupe A fleshy, 1-seeded fruit with a thin exocarp (skin), usually fleshy mesocarp, and a stony endocarp (the pit or stone), e.g., cherry, peach (Prunus, Rosaceae).
- pyrene - a drupe-like fruit with several seeds, each surrounded by a stony endocarp, e.g., holly (Ilex, Aquifoliaceae) and wild raisin (Viburnum, Caprifoliaceae). Some texts define pyrene as the seed and stony endocarp of a drupe with 1 or more seeds, however, true drupes have just one seed.
- drupelet- a small drupe, one segment of an aggregate fruit, such as raspberries and blackberries (Rubus, Rosaceae).
1b. Dry Dehiscent Simple Fruits
- follicle A dry, dehiscent fruit derived from a 1-carpelled ovary that dehisces along one line (suture), e.g., milkweed (Asclepias, Apocynaceae), peony (Paeonia, Ranunculaceae).
- legume A dry, dehiscent fruit derived from a 1-carpelled ovary that dehisces along 2 lines, also called a pod; e.g., green bean (Phaseolus), peanuts (Arachis), peas (Pisum), black locust (Robinia), vetch (Vicia) - all Fabaceae. Exception: an indehiscent pod is found in black medic (Medicago, Fabaceae).
- loment A legume, derived form a 1-carpelled ovary, that is contracted between seeds and which separates transversely into 1-seeded segments (articles) at maturity, e.g., sweet vetch (Hedysarum, Fabaceae), tick-clover (Desmodium, Fabaceae).
- silique A dry, dehiscent fruit derived from 2 or more carpels that dehisce along 2 sutures, with the carpel walls (valves) separated by a translucent septum, which is rimmed by a placental replum. The carpel walls are dehiscent, leaving only the persistent septum and replum after seeds are shed; siliques are typically at least twice as long as broad. e.g., mustard (Brassica), rockcress (Arabis) - both Brassicaceae. Siliques are characteristic of the Brassicaceae.
- silicle A short silique, about as broad as long (some sources say less than twice as long as broad), e.g., shepherd's purse (Capsella), peppergrass (Lepidium) - both Brassicaceae.
- capsule A dry, dehiscent fruit derived from an ovary with 2 or > carpels (compound ovary). There are many different types of capsules, described according to how they dehisce.
- acrocidal capsule - a capsule that dehisces through longitudinal slits at the terminal end of the fruit, e.g. bladdernut (Staphylea, Staphyleaceae).
- basicidial capsule - a capsule that dehisces through longitudinal slits at the base of the capsule, e.g. Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia, Aristolochiaceae).
- circumscissle capsule (or pyxis) - a capsule that dehisces along the circumference of the fruit, e.g., plantain (Plantago, Plantaginaceae), Brazil nuts (Bertholletia, Lecythidaceae).
- denticidal capsule - a capsule that dehisces apically, forming 5-10 teeth, e.g., chickweed (Cerastium, Caryophyllaceae).
- loculicidal capsule - a capsule that dehisces longitudinally through the cavity of the locules, e.g., evening primrose (Epilobium, Onagraceae), most orchids (Orchidaceae), horse chestnut (Aesculus, Sapindaceae), crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia, Lythraceae).
- operculate capsule - a capsule that dehisces through pores that are covered by a flap or lid, called an operculum, e.g., poppy (Papaver, Papaveraceae).
- poricidal capsule - a capsule that dehisces through open pores, e.g., Venus's looking-glass (Triodanis, Campanulaceae).
- septicidal capsule - a capsule that dehisces longitudinally through the fused sides (septa) of the carpels, e.g., lily (Lilium, Liliaceae), willow (Salix, Salicaceae), cotton (Gossypium, Malvaceae).
- valvular capsule - a capsule that dehisces into segments (valves) that separate from the side walls (septa) of the carpels; also called a septifragal capsule, e.g. morning glory (Ipomaea, Convolvulaceae).
1c. Dry Indehiscent Simple Fruits - with a thin, papery, fibrous, or leathery pericarp
- achene A dry, indehiscent, 1-seeded fruit with the seed attached to the fruit wall at only one point; derived from a superior ovary with 1 locule and 1 ovule, e.g., sunflower (Helianthus, Asteraceae), buckwheat (Fagopyrum, Polygonaceae).
- caryopsis (or grain) - a dry, indehiscent, 1-seeded fruit with the seed coat fused to the fruit wall, derived from a superior ovary with 1 locule and one ovule, characteristic of the Poaceae, e.g., corn (Zea), wheat (Triticum), rice (Oryza).
- cypsela - an achene derived from an inferior ovary with 1 locule, e.g., dandelion (Taraxacum, Asteraceae), characteristic of many spp. of the Asteraceae.
- samara A dry, indehiscent ,1-seeded, winged achene, e.g., ash (Fraxinus, Oleaceae), birch (Betula, Betulaceae), elm (Ulmus, Ulmaceae), hop-tree (Ptelea, Rutaceae), maple (Acer, Sapindaceae).
- schizocarp A fruit that develops from a single compound ovary (with 2 or > locules), but dehisces into separate 1-seeded units (mericarps), each of which appears to be a distinct fruit, e.g., mallow (Malva, Malvaceae), hogweed (Heracleum, Apiaceae). Schizocarps can be fleshy or dry; subcategories of schizocarps are named for the individual fruit type.
- mericarp - each unit of a schizocarp, each of which looks like a distinct fruit. A schizocarp of 2 mericarps is typical of the carrot family (Apiaceae), e.g. carrot (Daucus, Apiaceae). A characteristic of schizocarps of the Apiaceae is the carpophore, a thin, forked extension of the floral axis between adjacent mericarps, visible in this picture of the mericarps of sweet cicely (Osmorhiza, Apiaceae). The persistent style of the fruit, called the beakor rostellum, is also visible on this image.
- utricle A small, dry, indehiscent, 1-seeded fruit with a thin, bladdery or inflated pericarp, e.g., beet (Beta, Amaranthaceae), spinach (Spinacia, Amaranthaceae).
- fibrous drupe A dry fruit with a fibrous mesocarp and stony endocarp; it contains one seed; e.g., coconut (Cocos, Arecaceae). Coconuts are unique in a couple of ways: they have an endocarp with 3 pores (through which the seed can germinate) and a copious amount of endosperm, which starts out as a liquid (coconut milk) and eventually coats the inside of the seed in a solid, oily layer (solid coconut).
- balausta An indehiscent, many-seeded, fruit with a tough, leathery pericarp, derived from an inferior ovary with many locules. e.g., pomegranate (Punica, Lythraceae).
1d. Dry Indehiscent Simple Fruits - with a hard pericarp:
- nut A hard, indehiscent, 1-seeded fruit with a bony pericarp, derived from a superior ovary with 1 locule; sometimes surrounded by a papery or spiny involucre, or embedded within a spongy receptacle, e.g., hazelnut (Corylus, Betulaceae), beech (Fagus, Fagaceae), chestnut (Castanea, Fagaceae), lotus (Nelumbo, Nelumbonaceae).
- calybium A nut derived from an inferior ovary with 1 locule, e.g., the nut part of an oak acorn (Quercus, Fagaceae).
- nutlet A small nut, sometimes enclosed within a papery bract or attached to a wing-like bract; e.g., mints (Mentha, Lamiaceae), ironwood (Ostrya, Betulaceae), and hornbeam (Carpinus, Betulaceae).
2. Accessory Fruits
(Fruits derived from simple or compound ovaries and some non-ovarian tissues, as the hypanthium; classification arranged alphabetically; types of accessory structures given in parentheses below.)
3. Aggregate Fruits: derived from one (apocarpous) flower with several distinct carpels on one receptacle.
- achenecetum An aggregation of achenes, e.g., cinquefoil (Potentilla, Rosaceae), buttercup (Ranunculus, Ranunculaceae), clematis (Clematis, Ranunculaceae).
- baccacetum An aggregation of berries, e.g., baneberry (Actaea, Ranunculaceae), pokeweed (Phytolacca, Phytolaccaceae).
- drupecetum An aggregation of drupelets, e.g., raspberry, blackberry (Rubus, Rosaceae).
- follicetum An aggregation of follicles, e.g., columbine (Aquilegia, Ranunculaceae), marsh marigold (Caltha, Ranunculaceae), magnolia (Magnolia, Magnoliaceae).
- samaracetum An aggregation of samaras, e.g., tulip tree (Liriodendron, Magnoliaceae).
4. Multiple Fruits: formed by the fusion of the ovaries of an entire inflorescence (of 2 or more flowers).
- bibacca A fused double berry, formed from two pistils united at their base, e.g., honeysuckle (Lonicera, Caprifoliaceae).
- sorosis A multiple fruit derived from just the pistils of many unisexual flowers of an inflorescence, e.g., mulberry, a multiple of drupes (Morus, Moraceae), Osage orange (Maclura, Moraceae), breadfruit (Artocarpus, Annonaceae), cherimoya (Annona, Annonaceae).
- syconium A multiple fruit derived from numerous ovaries borne on the inside of the fleshy receptacle of an inflorescence. e.g., fig (Ficus, Moraceae). Also an accessory fruit, the fleshy portion of the fruit is formed by the hollow peduncle of the (inside-out) inflorescence.
- coenocarpium A multiple fruit derived from the pistils and associated floral parts of an inflorescence, e.g., pineapple, a multiple of berries (Ananas, Bromeliaceae). Also an accessory fruit.