Fruits are seed-bearing structures in flowering plants. They can be dry or juicy. Some are even edible. In fact, fruits contain a lot of water.
Fruits can be classified into three groups. These include simple, accessory and aggregate. The first group includes those that develop from a single ovary, carpel or follicle.
Simple fruits are generally simple. The outer layer, known as the exocarp, provides the fruit’s texture. A common example of a simple fruit is a strawberry. Other examples include pistachios and almonds.
Fleshy fruits are juicy and a good source of nutrients. Most edible fruits are in the fleshy category. Animals often eat them.
The fruit’s main function is to help the plant disperse seeds. Many foods that we call vegetables are in fact fruits.
In many species of flowers, the ripened ovary is the seed-bearing structure. There are three types of ovaries, which are known as the mesocarp, endocarp and exocarp. Occasionally, the ovary will form a fibrous ring.
Aggregate fruits are produced when multiple ovaries of a single flower fuse together to form one fruit. Examples of aggregate-accessory fruits include blackberries and pineapples.
Dry fruits, on the other hand, do not have a fleshy outer pericarp. Instead, the pericarp is thin and does not contain the same amount of water as a fleshy fruit. This means that dry fruits require wind or dehiscence to free the seeds.
The pericarp is often accompanied by a thin membranous endocarp. However, some fruits, such as peaches and pears, have a hard, membraneous endocarp.