Fruits are the important parts of the plant which are the basic ones that are helpful in the propagating of the species further. The seeds that are part of the fruits are the miniature of the plant that takes the characteristics of the plant to the future. The seeds which is usually embed in the fruits will be using the food stored in it during the path of its development. Not only this the fruits also offer protection to the seeds too. Majority of the fruits have seeds in them but some don’t. These fruits that are not having seeds in them are known as Pathenocarpic or Seedless fruits. Usually fruits are to develop from the ovary which is known as True fruits. But at times the fruits develop from other parts of the flower other than ovary. These fruits are known as False fruits

With respect to the identification, the fruits along with flowers form a very important data or criterion. Like the flower every part of the fruit is taken into consideration while performing the taxonomic classification. On ripening, the ovary is converted to Pericarp which has three layers namely Epicarp – Outermost layer, Mesocarp – Middle layer and Endocarp – Innermost layer. This pericarp vary making it either thick or thin and fleshy or hard. Generally, the Epicarp forms the rind of the fruit. Mesocarp forms the thick fleshy middle layer in many fruits, but sometimes as coir in case of coconut. Lastly, the endocarp forms a thick and hard structure that encases the seed.

MACROSCOPICAL CHARACTERS

Macroscopically, the fruits are classified into Simple, Aggregate and Composite types. The classification is based on the state of gynoecium and the involvement of the flowers in the fruit formation. These varieties of fruits are as explained below:

VARIETIES OF FRUITS

As per the classification above, the fruit varieties are basically of three types. These three types include all the different modifications and sub classifications which is described here in detail.

Simple Fruits

The simple fruits are those where only a fruit is formed the gynoecium. This variety is again of 2 types namely:

Fleshy Fruit

In this category of fruits there is differentiation of the three layers. These fruits are indehiscent and the dispersal of seeds is only possible when the three layers are destroyed. The Fleshy fruits are of 7 varieties namely Drupe, Berry, Pepo, Pome, Hesperidium, Balausta, Amphisarca. Let us understand about it individually.

  • Drupe – These are those fruits that have a hard and stony endocarp inside. Hence these fruits are also known as Stony fruits. For eg Mango, Coconut
  • Berry – The type of fruits where the seeds are embedded in the fleshy part where they are randomly spread in it. The epicarp of the fruit is thin and membranous. Eg. Tomato, Banana
  • Pepo – The fruits that are spongy, fleshy and unilocular where the seeds are on parietal placentation. Eg. Cucumber, melon
  • Pome – Here the fruit is hard and dry which remain inside a spongy thalamus which forms the rind and the sponge of the fruit. Hence it is also known as False Fruits.
  • Herperidium – In this type of fruits, the rind is thick, leathery with many oil glands formed from epicarp. The mesocarp forms the spongy white fibrous structure which remains attached to the epicarp. The endocarp is membranous in nature and forms many chambers. The inner side of endocarp has many glandular hairs which form the edible parts of the fruits. Eg. Lemon
  • Balausta – Here the fruit has a hard pericarp with persistent calyx that forms a crown. The seeds are irregularly arranged with fleshy and juicy testa. This is the edible part of the fruit. For eg. Pomegranate
  • Amphisarca – The pericarp is hard along with its inner side and the placenta tha is fleshy froms the edible part of the fruit. For eg. Bilwa, Kapitta.

Dry Fruit

These are those where the differentiation of the three layers are not present. These are of three groups namely Indehiscent, Dehiscent and Schizocarpic. Here is a brief description of the varieties.

Indehiscent Fruits –

The variety is usually a dry fruit with only one seed and small in size. It consist of 5 types of fruits namely Cypsela, Caryopsis, Achene, Nut and Samara. The details of each are as below:

  • Cypsela – A small one seeded dry fruit that is free from the pericarp. The fruit is in possession of a bunch of hairs known as PAPPUS. These Pappus are the modified form of calyx that helps in the dispersal of fruits. Eg. Bhringaraj.
  • Caryopsis – Here the fruits are small in size with one seed. The pericarp of these fruits are fused with the seed coat forming a joint surface. Eg. Rice.
  • Achene – These are the fruits with a single seed with the pericarp being free from the seed coat. For eg. Punarnava.
  • Nut – A fruit with a unilocular pericarp which is hard and is single seeded. For eg. Cashew nut.
  • Samara – It is a variety of fruit with one seed and is dry with a unique wing like structure developing from the pericarp. These wings help in the dispersal of the seeds. Eg. Chirabilva.
Dehiscent Fruits –

This variety of the fruits are characterised by a hard and dry pericarp. These fruits get ruptured and the seeds get dispersed in the open. This process is known as Dehiscence. This consists of 5 varieties of fruits namely Pods, Follicles, Siliqua, Silicula and Capsule. the description of the details are as mentioned below:

  • Pods – This variety of the fruits are also known as Legumes. These have many seeds present in long fruits. The fruits have two sutures which from the site of dehiscence that starts from the apex to the base. Eg. Pea
  • Follicles – The group of fruits that are multi-seeded fruits which undergo dehiscence only on the ventral suture. Eg. Sarpagandha, Arka
  • Siliqua – The one that develops with a parietal placentation where the dehiscence occurs in both dorsal and ventral suture starting from the lower parts. There is a false septum to which the seeds gets attached. Such fruits are known as Siliqua. For eg. Mustard.
  • Silicula – The one which is a reduced form of siliqua still being similar to it is the variety of fruit named Silicula. For eg. Iberis
  • Capsule – A multi-seeded and multi-chambered fruit with an axile placentation. The dehiscence occurs in different ways and not in a regular pattern. Eg. Cotton, Lady’s finger.
Schizocarpic Fruits –

The Schizocarpic fruit are the multiseeded fruits that get divided into mericarps where the seeds come out with destruction of pericarp sometimes. These mericarps may be one or two seeded. The varieties under this category is as described below:

  • Lomentum – Fruit that resembles a legume with a constricted or divided at the region of mericarp having one seed. On maturity these mericarps separate from each other. Eg. Tamarind
  • Cremocarp – A fruit with double seeds usually seen in the family umbelliferae or Apiaceae. It dehiscence from the apex on maturity where the two mericarps are formed with each containing one seed. These mericarp is attached to an extended part of the receptacle known as Carpophore. For eg. Coriander
  • Regma – The fruit with 3 to 5 locules which breaks into 3 to 5 parts with one seed. Each of these parts are known as Coccus and spines are present at the outer end of the pericarp. Eg. Castor.
  • Carcerulus – A four or more one seeded locule fruits and doesn’t get dispersed far away even after being a dry fruit is the variety of Carcerulus. Eg. Tulasi.
  • Utricle – The variety of fruit with a single seed and a thin membrane with the dehiscence taking place from the cap. Eg. Apamarga

Aggregate Fruits

The aggregate fruits are the ones where the carpels are separated from each other to form fruitlets. These bunch of fruitlets that are formed by the fruit is known as ETAERIO. The category has 4 varieties of fruits in them. They are Etaerio of Follicles, Etaerio of Achenes, Etaerio of Berries and Etaerio of Drupes. The details of each are explained below:

  1. Etaerio of Follices – Here the fruitlets are individual follicles which together form the fruit.
  2. Etaerio of Achenes – In this variety, the fruitlets are individual achenes that aggregate together to form the fruit.
  3. Etaerio of Berries– A fruit that is made up of indivdivual berries that join together to from the fruit.
  4. Etaerio of Drupes – Here the variety is composed of individual drupes which together form the full fruit. 

Composite Fruits

The composite fruits are those which differ from aggregate fruits as they are flowers and floral parts combine to form the fruit. Many a times the whole inflorescence combine or get modified to form the fruit. All the varieties of that come under this group are false fruits. This group of fruits is of two types namely, Sorosis and Syconus. 

  1. Sorosis – The fruits which develop from a spike, spadix or catkin inflorescence come under this category. For eg. jackfruit
  2. Syconus – The fruit that develops from the Hypanthodium inflorescence where the receptacle becomes hollow having a pore. For eg. Fig.

MICROSCOPICAL CHARACTERS

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