Field of Science

Flower, Fruit - What's the difference?

A reader asks what is the difference between a flower and a fruit? Oh, the Phactor wishes he got a dollar for every time he's answered this question. In fact, why not? To read further deposit one dollar US in the slot to the right of your monitor. Hurry, this display will automatically turn off if you do not pay by ... 3, 2, 1. ? ? ? You're still there?
If you can still see this, something didn't work correctly. Most of the other bloggers here don't know that FoS has and allows this pay as you go system, so let's keep this just between us for now. Damn, there goes this week's lunch money.
Flowers and fruits are the same thing, but at different stages. Flowers are at the stage of pollen dispersal; fruits are at the stage of seed dispersal. Both have many diverse adaptations for accomplishing these dispersals. Usually the showy parts of the flower, one or two whorls of perianth and the androecium (stamens) having functioned in pollen dispersal are discarded post pollination while the rest of the flower undergoes more development to become a fruit containing one to many seeds.
That's all you get for free.


Anonymous said...

Roots, stems, and leaves are the three main vegetables. But what about the unpollinated flower? It has an ovule but no fruit. The fruit will be made once it's pollinated. Until that happens, the flower should fall into the category of a vegetable. Should a flower's unpollinated ovule be considered a fruit? That doesn't sound like responsible botany.

I think it's easier to classify a flower as a flower, belonging to neither vegetable or fruit group because it's basically both, right?

The Phytophactor said...

Dear Anony,
Correct, basically, but do try to keep up. A small correction: the ovule (megasporangium) will develop into a seed, it's the also inappropriately names ovary (megasporophyll) that will develop into a fruit. Pollination is the event where a flower passes from the vegetable category into the fruit category. Pollination is what stimulates the developmental changes that transform flower to fruit a very responsible and even rational perspective. Note the often most popular blog on artichokes, fruit or vegetable?, featured on the right side. Besides we had a binary issue, fruit or vegetable, and you can't just add another category and say you've made things easier!
All the best, TPP