FRUIT PARTS and their FUNCTIONS - Summary with diagram

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Fruits are a very important part of the reproductive cycle of plants, some of them also having a great weight in the food chain and the ecosystem in which they are found. In fact, for some vegetables, being eaten by animals is the best way for their seed to reach other areas of land to germinate and grow, thus the species colonizes more land. But what are the parts of the fruit? And what functions and importance do these parts and the fruit itself have?

If you want to learn more about what are the parts of the fruit and their functionsJoin us in this Green Ecologist article in which we explain everything and show diagrams.

Function of the fruit and its characteristics

Before going into more detail about what the fruit is and what its parts are, we will start by explaining what it is, characteristics and functions of the fruit:

Protect the seeds

The seed protection function occurs because the fruits contain the seed or seeds inside. They normally protect it with thick or hardened walls and, sometimes, the fruit even helps provide the seed with nutrients. However, its most important protection task is precisely that of preventing the seed from being predated or damaged while it is developing. In its early stages, the seed is not yet ready to be dispersed and must finish being prepared in the plant, the fruit fulfilling its protective function here.

Facilitate seed dispersal

After the protective function and when the seed is already prepared, we come to the function of the fruit of facilitating or assisting in the dispersal of the seed. This can occur in different ways:

  • The anemochorous fruits They take advantage of the wind to be able to disperse their seeds. These are very light fruits, which have ideal shapes so that the wind can carry them away, with structures like hairs or in the shape of a wing.
  • The zoocoros fruitsInstead, they seek to attract animals so that they are the ones that perform the dispersal function. This, in turn, can occur in two main ways. Epizoocoros are fruits that, due to their shape, have a high probability of attaching to the fur, skin or feathers of animals, to be released later at another point. Endozoocoros look for the animal to ingest them, so that the animal's digestive system takes advantage of the fruit, but does not damage the seed, which will later be expelled in other areas, where it will germinate. This type of fruit tends to be fleshy and brightly colored to attract consumers.
  • Also exist the hydrochoric fruits, like coconuts, which take advantage of the water to be transported long distances.
  • Last we have the autocoros, which are fruits with their own capacities to expel their seeds at a distance, as some legumes do.

These dispersal strategies are vital, since if the plant were to drop its seeds around it, it would end up causing very high competition from the original plant with its new shoots, in addition to making it difficult to colonize new territories. Then we will see what are the parts of the fruit of a plant or tree, which we can simply summarize in seed and pericarp.

The seed of the fruit

The seed is formed from the fertilized ovule, and each fruit can contain one or more of them. It is the embryo that will give rise to a new plant if the appropriate conditions are met, being an indispensable part of the sexual reproduction of flowering plants. The fruit seed It's formed by:

  • The embryo, which is what will grow to become the new plant.
  • Endosperm, which is the layer formed by the reserve substances and nutrients that the embryo needs to grow.
  • The protective layers of integument.

We recommend you read this other article by Ecologist Verde on the Parts of the seed and their functions to learn this topic more thoroughly.

The pericarp of the fruit

The pericarp is the part of the fruit that is found wrapping the seed. Some contain reserve substances, while others do not. It is made up of the epicarp, the mesocarp, and the endocarp.

  • Epicarp It is the outermost layer of the pericarp, and consists of what we usually call the peel or skin of the fruit. Epicarps are both the skin of the apple and the prickly part of a thistle or the peel of a dried fruit. They are divided into polychrome, smooth, granular, pubescent and spiny.
  • The mesocarp It is the intermediate layer, which contains the reserve substances. In immature fruits, these substances are citric, tartaric and malic acids, which help the seed to fully develop while giving the fruit an unpleasant taste so that it cannot be consumed yet. Once the seed is ready to be dispersed, the fruit converts its acids into sugars and starches, becoming very attractive for consumption and thus favoring the arrival of animals to eat it.
  • The endocarp It is the innermost part of the fruit, and usually consists of a protective layer around the seeds, usually harder and sometimes also contains reserve substances.

Now that you know all this about fruits, we recommend that you learn more with this other article about the Parts of a plant and their functions, as well as the Parts of a tree and their functions.

Image: Slideshare

Classification of fruits

The fruits are very varied and can be classified in various ways. For example, if we classify them according to whether or not they contain reserve substances in the mesocarp, we find one of the most common classifications: the one that divides them into dried and fleshy fruits, with numerous subtypes. Instead, if we look at the types of fruits according to botany, we have to divide them into four categories:

  • Simple fruits
  • Multiple fruits
  • Compound fruits
  • Parthenocarpic fruits

Simple fruits are those that develop from a single ovary, while multiple fruits derive from several of them. These are also called infrutescences. Compound fruits are also made up of several ovaries, but as they develop, they eventually unite. The parthenocarpic or sterile are fruits that do not contain seeds, since they are formed without prior fertilization.

If you want to read more articles similar to Parts of the fruit and their functions, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

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