Fruit Facts



  • Scientists say a fruit is the ovary of a plant after the eggs are pollinated and grow into seeds. Corn grains, cucumbers, bean pods and acorns are fruit as well as apples and so on.
  • Some fruits, such as oranges, are soft and juicy. The hard pips are the seeds.
  • With some fruits, such as hazelnuts and almonds, the flesh turns to a hard dry shell. These are known as nuts.
  • Fleshy fruits are either berries like oranges which are all flesh, aggregate fruits like blackberries which are made from lots of berries from a single flower, or multiple fruits like pineapples which are single fruits made from an entire multiple flowerhead.
  • Legumes such as peas and beans are soft, dry fruits held in a case known as a pod.
  • Berries and other juicy fruits are called ‘true fruits’ because they are made from the ovary of the flower alone. Almonds grow in a thin, smooth shell. The almond tree produces two different kinds of fruit: sweet, which is edible, and bitter, which is not.
  • There are three kinds of cherries — sweet, sour and ‘dukes; which are a sweet-sour cross. We eat mainly sweet cherries like these.
  • Apples and pears are called ‘false fruits’ because they include parts other than the flower’s ovary.
  • In an apple only the core is the ovary.
  • Drupes are fruit like plums, mangoes and cherries with no pips but just a hard stone in the centre containing the seeds. Aggregate fruits like raspberries are clusters of drupes.
  • Walnuts and dogwood are actually drupes like cherries.
  • Fruits of temperate regions must have a cool winter to grow properly.
  • The main temperate fruits are apples, pears, plums, apricots, peaches, grapes and cherries.
  • Apples were eaten by the earliest Europeans hundreds of thousands of years ago. They were spread through the USA by Indians, trappers and travellers like Johnny Appleseed’ Chapman.
  • The world picks 32 million tonnes of apples a year, half are eaten fresh and a quarter are made into the alcoholic drink cider. The USA is the world’s leading producer of cider apples.
  • The world’s most popular pear is the Williams’ Bon Chretien or Bartlett. The best is said to to be the Doyenne du Cornice, first grown in France in 1849.
  • Pears are the second most important temperate fruit after apples. The leading producer is China.
  • Peaches are native to China but are now widely grown in southern Europe. Their sweet, fragrant flesh makes them a popular delicacy.
  • New pear trees are grown not from seeds but by grafting branches on to roots such as those of quinces.
  • Plums came originally from the Caucasus Mountains in Turkey and Turkey is still the world’s major plum grower. The damson plum came from Damascus.
  • Plums are dried to make prunes.
  • The peach is 87% water and has far fewer calories than fruit like apples and pears.
  • Grapes are grown in vineyards to make wine. Grape-growing or viticulture is described in detail in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs of 2400 B.C..