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Fruit or vegetable?

Scott D. Russell srussell at ou.edu
Tue Jan 21 10:12:50 EST 1997

In article <cigam-2001971938320001 at evt-mx100-ip129.halcyon.com>, cigam at halcyon.com (Judy Larson) wrote:
>I'm not sure this is the right news group for my question, but I'll give
>it a try.  My family and I have been having a discussion as to what
>parameters are used to categorize fruits and vegetables.  Do all fruits
>come from blossoms?  What about beans and peas?  Are nuts considered
>fruits?  Are legumes vegetables or are they in their own category?

According to the botanical definitions of fruit and vegetable, if the organ is 
a vegetative part (root, stem or leaf), it is a vegetable.  If it is derived 
from an ovary (female reproductive structure of the flower), then it is a 

Beans are therefore clearly fruits by this definition, since they include the 
ovary wall. Peas are derived from the fruit and would be called seeds.  Under 
this kind of categorization, nuts are fruits, and legumes need no special 

Notice, color has nothing to do with the category, nor do any taste 
attributes, unlike the "grocery store definitions" of fruit and vegetable!

Scott D. Russell                     Internet:  srussell at ou.edu
Dept of Botany & Microbiology      ->http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/
 & Noble Electron Microscopy Lab   ->http://www.ou.edu/research/electron/
University of Oklahoma, Norman OK    Phone:  1-405-325-6234
 73019-0245   USA                    FAX:    1-405-325-7619

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