Fruit Terminology (Part 3)

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Botany 115 Terminology

Fruit Terminology Part 3

C. Indehiscent Dry Fruits (Do Not Split Open At Maturity)

6. Schizocarp: Seed-bearing carpels split apart, but remain indehiscent.

The schizocarps of sweet fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) are produced in clusters called umbellets, This is typical of plants in the carrot family (Apiaceae). Each schizocarp splits apart into two indehiscent, seed-bearing mericarps, each attached to a stalk called a carpophore.

Schizocarps of sweel fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), each splitting apart into two indehiscent, one-seeded carpels called mericarps. This valuable herb has edible, licorice-flavored leaf stalks and seeds. Ground or whole fennel seeds are used in stuffings, sausages, breads, cookies, cakes, candies and liqueurs.

The schizocarp of filaree (Erodium cicutarium) is composed of five indehiscent, seed-bearing carpels, each with a long, hygroscopic style. When dry, the style coils and literally screws the seed-bearing carpel into the soil. This type of elonbgate schizocarp is typical of plants in the geranium family (Geraniaceae).

Fruits (schizocarps) of filaree (Erodium moschatum), a common and prolific naturalized Mediterranean weed during the spring in southern California. Each fruit is composed of five sections called carpels and a long, slender style column. Since the seed-bearing carpels do not split open, the fruit is considered indehiscent. When they begin to dry out, the mature carpels (each with its own slender style) separate from each other. As the styles uncoil, the carpels are often forcibly ejected. Upon landing on the ground, the free end of the style spirals around like the hand of a clock, twisting the seed-bearing carpel deeper and deeper into the soil. Species of Erodium are also called storksbill because of the long, beaklike style column on the fruits.

See Schizocarps & Mericarps Of Fennel
More Schizocarps: Filaree & Cheeseweed
See The Ubiquitous & Painful Puncture Vine

7. Utricle: Small, bladderlike, thin-walled indehiscent fruit.

Although they are seldom seen by casual observers, utricles are the characteristic fruit of the duckweed family (Lemnaceae). The dehiscent one-seeded fruits of Amaranthus (Amaranthaceae) are often called circumscissle utricles because the top half of the fruit separates, exposing a shiny black seed. Note: Wayne's Word contains a lot of additional information about the remarkable duckweed family (Lemnaceae), the undisputed world's smallest flowering plants. Just click on the green Lemnaceae Tab at the top of this page for a complete index to articles and photos.

Utricles of the duckweed family (Lemnaceae). The utricle is a small, bladderlike, thin-walled fruit. It is often compared with a one-seeded achene, except the utricle has a pericarp that is loose and fragile. Because of their small size (usually only 1-2 mm or less), utricles of the duckweed family are seldom seen. In fact, the one-seeded utricles of Wolffia species are the undisputed smallest fruits on earth. The smallest are from the Australian W. angusta and the Asian/African W. globosa.

See Wolffia Utricles: World's Smallest Fruit
The Duckweed Family (Lemnaceae) Home Page

An assortment of winged, one-seeded fruits (utricles) of saltbushes (Atriplex) from the Mojave and Colorado Deserts of the southwestern United States. Saltbushes belong to the goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae). From left: (A) A. canescens, (B) A. confertifolia, (C) A. hymenelytra, (D) A. polycarpa and (E) A. parryi. The most notable wind-blown species is (A) A. canescens, appropriately named the 4-wing saltbush.

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