These are fruits in which all
or part of the fruit wall is fleshy at maturity. Among the most important simple fleshy
fruits are the following:
fruits in which the ovary wall has ripened into a fleshy, often juicy and edible zone
surrounding the seeds, as is clearly the case with the luscious yellow tomato I just
picked from my garden and shown at the right. Berries only develop from flowers with
superior ovaries. As was the case with the term "fruit," the botanical
definition of "berry" is very different from the general public's. For,
according to the technical definition, the following simple fleshy fruits are berries: tomatoes,
grapes, avocados, eggplants, persimmons , and red peppers!
Notice that blackberries and strawberries aren't even mentioned! Oranges,
grapefruits, and lemons are modified berries.
Drupes are simple fruits containing
hard, single seeds known as "stones" or "pits," which are surrounded
by a fleshy pulp; usually drupes have thin skins. Examples of backyard drupes include cherries,
peaches, plums, and, if you live along a tropical or semitropical beach, coconuts.
The picture at the right shows the fruit of a Black Cherry tree, a wild tree in eastern
North America. Notice that this small fruit (0.3 inch or 8 mm wide) has little flesh but a
lot of "pit." That's typical of wild plants. The tree has evolved so that it
provides just enough flesh to interest a bird in eating it, and dispersing its seed, but
not a bit more. When humans developed horticultural varieties from such wild stock, of
course they chose strains with more flesh and less pit, just the opposite of Mother