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Botanically, a fruit is the ripened ovary of a flowering? plant, dry or moist and fleshy. When discussing food, the term usually refers to fruits that are sweet and fleshy. Some culinary fruits are not fruits in the botanical sense (e.g., rhubarb?; only the stems are edible). Gourd?s, tomatos, and pepper?s are fruits in the botanical sense, but are treated as vegetable?s in cooking. Some spices, such as allspice? and nutmeg? are botanically fruits. Some Gymnosperm?s, such as juniper, have fleshy arils? that resemble fruits.

Some edible fruits:

An interesting fruit not often talked about is the [Osage Orange]? fruit. it resembles a bright green tennis ball with convolusions like a brain. It is a heavy fleshy fruit that appears NOT to be eaten by any animal today. This is unusual as almost all large fleshy fruits' primary mode of [seed dispersal]? is by consumption by large animals. One predominate theory today is that the Osage Orange fruit was eaten by a giant sloth? that lived along side of the giant Saber-toothed animals, all now extinct in North America.

I'd love to see a better classification of these fruits--regional, botanical, or both. These are just my North American culinary classifications.

Most of the above are included in a classification of flowering plants, starting at Magnoliophyta. I know it's incomplete and has been growing only slowly, but I'm nowhere close to an expert. Anyway, pages on the above could link back to families like Rosaceae, once those exist.

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Last edited October 4, 2001 6:03 am by Trimalchio (diff)