Essay 9: On Fruit

Fruits are very useful tools that aid plants in reproduction. They are also a major food source for many organisms. They may be very costly for  the plant to produce, but they are worth it.

Fruits are structures produced by angiosperms that are formed from the ovaries of flowers and that bear seeds. There are four different classifications of fruit; simple fruit, aggregate fruit, accessory fruit, and fruits which exhibit inflorescence. Simple fruit are comprised of a single carpel, or several fused carpels (a flower part which houses the ovaries), like blueberries. Aggregate fruit are formed from a single flower sporting many carpels, such as blackberries. Accessory fruit, or false fruit, are formed not from the carpel, but from accessory tissue outside of the carpel called the receptacle, like apples and pears. Fruits which are inflorescent are formed from several flowers that have fused together, forming one fruit, such as pineapples.

Fruits allow plants to widely disperse their seeds. They may be eaten be an animal and spread seeds through the animal’s feces. Fruits (like the ”helicopters” of maple trees) may develop wing-like appendages that allow them to glide away. Some fruits may have small hooks or bristles that allow them to attach themselves to animals and travel with them. There is also a process called dehiscence in which a mature fruit breaks open to release the seeds. These seeds may then be transported to other areas by wind or water. There is a variation on this process known as explosive dehiscence in which the fruit blows up and shoots seeds in all directions. There are many different types of fruit, and many methods of seed dispersal .

Fruits are very costly for plants to produce. They require lots of nutrients, and tons of energy. However, they do achieve their goal of dispersing seeds, whether by the digestive system of animals, by using wings to fly away, or by explosive force. Fruits may be expensive, but they are worth it.

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