Tomato as Fruit, Not Vegetable
Name: Ernest B.
Date: Saturday, July 06, 2002
Why is a tomato a fruit and not a vegetable? More
generally, what is the difference between a vegetable and a fruit?
Generally, a fleshy growth originating from a flower and carry seeds is
considered a fruit. So a gourd or cucumber or pea pod is a fruit too.
A potato fails because it does not come from the flower and is part of the
root, cabbage and spinach and is leaves and stems, etc.
Please refer to previous answers to this famous question:
Anthony R. Brach, Ph.D.
Botanically speaking, anything that bears seeds is a fruit. The fruit forms
from the reproductive part of the plant, i.e., the flower. The ovary of the
flower becomes the fruit and inside the seeds form. So a tomato comes from
the flower and inside are the seeds. So it is a fruit. A nut is a seed and
the shell is the fruit. Anything from a part of the plant that is not the
flower is vegetative, i.e., does not reproduce. So leaves, stems and roots
are vegetables. So lettuce, carrots and potatoes are vegetables.
A fruit is a seed bearing structure derived from the flower, and is not
necessarily edible. A "vegetable" in human dietary terms, is any edible,
non-seed bearing part of a plant.
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Update: June 2012