As we all know, trees are usually named and recognized by their fruit such as apple tree, mango tree, and so on. A fruit is an important and characteristic element of the plants, especially angiosperms. It is the fleshy, seed-bearing, edible, structure of the plants. Some fruits are fleshy, sweet and juicy while others are sour. Few fruits have seeds and others are seedless.
Actually, what is a fruit? How it is developed in a plant? Let us take a glance at the formation of fruit and different parts of a fruit.
Formation and Parts of a Fruit
A flower is a reproductive unit and the fruits are the outcome of reproduction. Technically, a fruit is defined as the matured, ripened ovary shaped after syngamy. During reproduction in angiosperms, the sperms from the pollen grains fuse with the ovules enclosed in the ovary. After fertilization, the ovary transforms into fruit and ovules mature into seeds simultaneously.
In the majority of angiosperms, by this time, other parts of the flower disintegrate and shed off.
There are several plants in which fruits are developed without fertilization. Such fruits are called parthenocarpy fruits (e.g., banana). One of the characteristic features of parthenocarpy fruits is they are seedless.
In fruits like apple, strawberry, etc. the thalamus also forms the fleshy part. These type of fruits are called as false fruits and the fruits that develop only from the ovary are called true fruits.
The fruits consist of a wall called pericarp and seeds. The pericarp is the wall of the ovary that develops as the wall of the fruits. The pericarp of the fruits might be fleshy as in guava, mango, etc. or might be dry as in mustards, walnut, etc. The pericarp, which is thick and fleshy fruit is differentiated into three layers –
- Internal layer called as Endocarp.
- The middle layer called Mesocarp.
- External layer called as Epicarp.
The epicarp forms the peel, mesocarp is the fleshy, edible portion of the fruits and endocarp is the inner rough portion where the seed is accommodated. Generally, fruits that developed from a monocarpellary superior ovary are single-seeded in nature.
Types of Fruits
Based on the number of ovaries and the number of flowers involved in the fruit formation, fruits are classified into three major groups:
These fruits, develop from a single matured ovary in a single flower. Apple, banana, cherry pear, plum, tomato are few examples of simple fruits.
These fruits, develop from a number of matured ovaries formed in a single flower. Individual ovaries are called fruitlets. Blackberry, raspberry, strawberry are few examples of aggregate fruits.
These fruits, develop from the matured ovaries of several to many flowers more or less united into a mass. Fig, mulberry, and pineapple, are few examples of multiple fruits.
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