1 tasting or smelling richly of or as of fruit
2 informal or slang terms for mentally irregular; "it used to drive my husband balmy" [syn: balmy, barmy, bats, batty, bonkers, buggy, cracked, crackers, daft, dotty, haywire, kooky, kookie, loco, loony, loopy, nuts, nutty, round the bend, around the bend, wacky, whacky] [also: fruitiest, fruitier]
- Rhymes: -uːti
The term fruit has many different meanings depending on context. In botany, a fruit is the ripened ovary—together with seeds— of a flowering plant. In many species, the fruit incorporates the ripened ovary and the surrounding tissues. Fruits are the means by which flowering plants disseminate seeds.
In cuisine, when food items are called "fruit", the term is most often used for those plant fruits that are edible and sweet and fleshy, examples of which include plums, apples and oranges. But in cooking, the word fruit may also rarely be loosely applied to other parts of a plant, such as the stems of rhubarb, which are made into sweet pies, but which are not botanically a fruit at all.
Although the word fruit has limited use in cooking, in reality a great many common vegetables, as well as nuts and grains, are botanically speaking, the fruits of various plant species. No single terminology really fits the enormous variety that is found among plant fruits. The cuisine terminology for fruits is quite inexact and is likely to remain so.
The term false fruit (pseudocarp, accessory fruit) is sometimes applied to a fruit like the fig (a multiple-accessory fruit; see below) or to a plant structure that resembles a fruit but is not derived from a flower or flowers. Some gymnosperms, such as yew, have fleshy arils that resemble fruits and some junipers have berry-like, fleshy cones. The term "fruit" has also been inaccurately applied to the seed-containing female cones of many conifers.
With most cultivated fruits, pollination is a vital part of fruit culture, and the lack of knowledge of pollinators and pollenizers can contribute to poor crops or poor quality crops. In a few species, the fruit may develop in the absence of pollination/fertilization, a process known as parthenocarpy. Such fruits are seedless. A plant that does not produce fruit is known as acarpous, meaning "without fruit".
Botanic fruit and culinary fruitMany foods are botanically fruit, but are treated as vegetables in cooking and food preparation. These include cucurbits (e.g., squash, pumpkin, and cucumber), tomato, peas, beans, corn, eggplant, and sweet pepper, spices, such as allspice and chillies. In the culinary sense, a fruit is usually any sweet tasting plant product associated with seed(s), a vegetable is any savoury or less sweet plant product, and a nut any hard, oily, and shelled plant product.
Although a nut is a type of fruit, it is also a popular term for edible seeds, such as peanuts (which are actually a legume) and pistachios. Technically, a cereal grain is a fruit termed a caryopsis. However, the fruit wall is very thin and fused to the seed coat so almost all of the edible grain is actually a seed. Therefore, cereal grains, such as corn, wheat and rice are better considered edible seeds, although some references list them as fruits. Edible gymnosperms seeds are often misleadingly given fruit names, e.g. pine nuts, ginkgo nuts, and juniper berries.
A fruit is a ripened ovary. After the ovule in an ovary is fertilized in a process known as pollination, the ovary begins to ripen. The ovule develops into a seed and the ovary wall pericarp may become fleshy (as in berries or drupes), or form a hard outer covering (as in nuts). In some cases, the sepals, petals and/or stamens and style of the flower fall off. Fruit development continues until the seeds have matured. With some multiseeded fruits the extent to which the flesh develops is proportional to the number of fertilized ovules.
The wall of the fruit, developed from the ovary wall of the flower, is called the pericarp. The pericarp is often differentiated into two or three distinct layers called the exocarp (outer layer - also called epicarp), mesocarp (middle layer), and endocarp (inner layer). In some fruits, especially simple fruits derived from an inferior ovary, other parts of the flower (such as the floral tube, including the petals, sepals, and stamens), fuse with the ovary and ripen with it. The plant hormone ethylene causes ripening. When such other floral parts are a significant part of the fruit, it is called an accessory fruit. Since other parts of the flower may contribute to the structure of the fruit, it is important to study flower structure to understand how a particular fruit forms. Types of dry, simple fruits (with examples) are:
- achene - (buttercup)
- capsule - (Brazil nut)
- caryopsis - (wheat)
- fibrous drupe - (coconut, walnut)
- follicle - (milkweed)
- legume - (pea, bean, peanut)
- nut - (hazelnut, beech, oak acorn)
- samara - (elm, ash, maple key)
- schizocarp - (carrot)
- silique - (radish)
- silicle - (shepherd's purse)
- utricle - (beet)
Fruits in which part or all of the pericarp (fruit wall) is fleshy at maturity are simple fleshy fruits. Types of fleshy, simple fruits (with examples) are:
An aggregate fruit, or etaerio, develops from a flower with numerous simple pistils. An example is the raspberry, whose simple fruits are termed drupelets because each is like a small drupe attached to the receptacle. In some bramble fruits (such as blackberry) the receptacle is elongated and part of the ripe fruit, making the blackberry an aggregate-accessory fruit. The strawberry is also an aggregate-accessory fruit, only one in which the seeds are contained in achenes. In all these examples, the fruit develops from a single flower with numerous pistils.
Some kinds of aggregate fruits are called berries, yet in the botanical sense they are not.
Multiple fruitA multiple fruit is one formed from a cluster of flowers (called an inflorescence). Each flower produces a fruit, but these mature into a single mass. Examples are the pineapple, edible fig, mulberry, osage-orange, and breadfruit.
In the photograph on the right, stages of flowering and fruit development in the noni or Indian mulberry (Morinda citrifolia) can be observed on a single branch. First an inflorescence of white flowers called a head is produced. After fertilization, each flower develops into a drupe, and as the drupes expand, they become connate (merge) into a multiple fleshy fruit called a syncarpet.
There are also many dry multiple fruits, e.g.
Fruit chartTo summarize common types of fruit:
- Berry -- simple fruit and seeds created from a single ovary
- False berries -- Epigynous fruit made from a part of the plant other than a single ovary
- Compound fruit, which includes:
- Other accessory fruit -- where the edible part is not generated by the ovary
Seedless fruitsSeedlessness is an important feature of some fruits of commerce. Commercial cultivars of bananas and pineapples are examples of seedless fruits. Some cultivars of citrus fruits (especially navel oranges and mandarin oranges), table grapes, grapefruit, and watermelons are valued for their seedlessness. In some species, seedlessness is the result of parthenocarpy, where fruits set without fertilization. Parthenocarpic fruit set may or may not require pollination. Most seedless citrus fruits require a pollination stimulus; bananas and pineapples do not. Seedlessness in table grapes results from the abortion of the embryonic plant that is produced by fertilization, a phenomenon known as stenospermocarpy which requires normal pollination and fertilization.
Some fruits have coats covered with spikes or hooked burrs, either to prevent themselves from being eaten by animals or to stick to the hairs, feathers or legs of animals, using them as dispersal agents. Examples include cocklebur and unicorn plant.
The sweet flesh of many fruits is "deliberately" appealing to animals, so that the seeds held within are eaten and "unwittingly" carried away and deposited at a distance from the parent. Likewise, the nutritious, oily kernels of nuts are appealing to rodents (such as squirrels) who hoard them in the soil in order to avoid starving during the winter, thus giving those seeds that remain uneaten the chance to germinate and grow into a new plant away from their parent.
UsesMany hundreds of fruits, including fleshy fruits like apple, peach, pear, kiwifruit, watermelon and mango are commercially valuable as human food, eaten both fresh and as jams, marmalade and other preserves. Fruits are also in manufactured foods like cookies, muffins, yoghurt, ice cream, cakes, and many more. Many fruits are used to make beverages, such as fruit juices (orange juice, apple juice, grape juice, etc) or alcoholic beverages, such as wine or brandy. Apples are often used to make vinegar.
Many vegetables are botanical fruits, including tomato, bell pepper, eggplant, okra, squash, pumpkin, green bean, cucumber and zucchini. Olive fruit is pressed for olive oil. Spices like vanilla, paprika, allspice and black pepper are derived from berries.
Fruits are generally high in fiber, water and vitamin C. Fruits also contain various phytochemicals that do not yet have an RDA/RDI listing under most nutritional factsheets, and which research indicates are required for proper long-term cellular health and disease prevention.http://www.newstarget.com/phytochemicals.html Regular consumption of fruit is associated with reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer disease, cataracts, and some of the functional declines associated with aging.http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/78/3/517S
Nonfood usesBecause fruits have been such a major part of the human diet, different cultures have developed many different uses for various fruits that they do not depend on as being edible. Many dry fruits are used as decorations or in dried flower arrangements, such as unicorn plant, lotus, wheat, annual honesty and milkweed. Ornamental trees and shrubs are often cultivated for their colorful fruits, including holly, pyracantha, viburnum, skimmia, beautyberry and cotoneaster.
Fruits of opium poppy are the source of the drugs opium and morphine. Osage orange fruits are used to repel cockroaches. Bayberry fruits provide a wax often used to make candles. Many fruits provide natural dyes, e.g. walnut, sumac, cherry and mulberry. Dried gourds are used as decorations, water jugs, bird houses, musical instruments, cups and dishes. Pumpkins are carved into Jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween. The spiny fruit of burdock or cocklebur were the inspiration for the invention of Velcro.
Coir is a fibre from the fruit of coconut that is used for doormats, brushes, mattresses, floortiles, sacking, insulation and as a growing medium for container plants. The shell of the coconut fruit is used to make souvenir heads, cups, bowls, musical instruments and bird houses.
Philippines is world leader in tropical fresh fruit production followed by Indonesia and then India.
- Images of fruit development from flowers at bioimages.vanderbilt.edu
- Fruit and seed dispersal images at bioimages.vanderbilt.edu
- Fruit Facts from California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
- Encyclopedia Britannica 1911 on Fruit
fruity in Arabic: فواكه
fruity in Aragonese: Fruita
fruity in Guarani: Yva
fruity in Aymara: Achu
fruity in Min Nan: Kóe-chí
fruity in Bulgarian: Плод
fruity in Catalan: Fruit
fruity in Czech: Ovoce
fruity in Welsh: Ffrwyth
fruity in Danish: Frugt
fruity in German: Frucht
fruity in Estonian: Vili
fruity in Modern Greek (1453-): Φρούτα
fruity in Spanish: Fruta
fruity in Esperanto: Frukto
fruity in Persian: میوه
fruity in French: Fruit
fruity in Korean: 열매
fruity in Hindi: फल
fruity in Croatian: Voće
fruity in Ido: Frukto
fruity in Indonesian: Buah
fruity in Icelandic: Ávöxtur
fruity in Italian: Frutto
fruity in Hebrew: פרי
fruity in Javanese: Woh
fruity in Swahili (macrolanguage): Tunda
fruity in Haitian: Fwi
fruity in Latin: Fructus
fruity in Latvian: Auglis
fruity in Lithuanian: Vaisius
fruity in Hungarian: Gyümölcs
fruity in Malay (macrolanguage): Buah
fruity in Dutch: Vrucht (plant)
fruity in Japanese: 果実
fruity in Neapolitan: Frutto
fruity in Norwegian: Frukt
fruity in Norwegian Nynorsk: Frukt
fruity in Narom: Frit
fruity in Polish: Owoc
fruity in Portuguese: Fruto
fruity in Romanian: Fruct
fruity in Quechua: Ruru
fruity in Russian: Фрукт
fruity in Northern Sami: Šattus
fruity in Albanian: Fruti
fruity in Sicilian: Frutta
fruity in Simple English: Fruit
fruity in Slovenian: Plod
fruity in Serbian: Плод
fruity in Finnish: Hedelmä
fruity in Swedish: Frukt
fruity in Tagalog: Bungang-kahoy
fruity in Tamil: பழம்
fruity in Thai: ผลไม้
fruity in Cheyenne: Mene
fruity in Turkish: Meyve
fruity in Ukrainian: Плід
fruity in Yiddish: פרוכט
fruity in Contenese: 果
fruity in Samogitian: Vaisios
fruity in Chinese: 果实
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