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Aggregate Fruit: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 What is an Aggregate Fruit?
  • 0:32 Formation
  • 1:31 Examples
  • 2:28 Uses
  • 2:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

This lesson is on aggregate fruit. Here, we'll learn what exactly a fruit is and how aggregate fruits are different from other fruits. We'll also check out some examples of common aggregate fruits.

What Is an Aggregate Fruit?

Summer is here! Or perhaps it's just around the corner. Regardless of what season it is, your supermarket is probably teeming with fresh summer produce from around the globe. Raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries fill the shelves. What do all these sweet treats have in common? Beyond being berries, they are all examples of aggregate fruits. Before we get into this tasty type of fruit, we need to go over the basics of what a fruit is and how it forms.

Formation

A fruit is technically a ripened ovary of a plant. Yep, that's right! So how is it formed? Male plants release pollen from the anther, which floats to the ovule inside the flower of female plants. Some plants have both the male part and the female part. The plant embryo forms inside the seed, which will grow into a new plant when the seeds germinate. The ovary surrounds the embryo in order to protect the seed and help with dispersal of seeds, so they can spread to grow in new areas. Animals eat the fruits, travel, and excrete the seeds in other areas, forming new plants.

What we've talked about so far involves one ovary maturing into one fruit after fertilization, which is called a simple fruit. Aggregate fruits form when many ovaries inside the same flower fuse into one fruit. The individual ovaries are called fruitlets and are arranged around a receptacle, a thick part of the stem.

Examples

A classic example, as we discussed above, is raspberries. If you look closely at a raspberry, you will see many tiny red balls making up the entire fruit. These are the fruitlets. The hollow inside of the raspberry is the receptacle. There are other, more exotic examples as well. Custard apples grow in the tropic regions of the globe. They look like little green pine cones, about three inches in diameter. They have a deliciously sweet flesh, tasting similar to custard. Each one of the teardrops on the fruit is a fruitlet, making it an aggregate fruit.

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