Is It a Nut or Not?

Some more insights…and a holiday tip…from Herbdoc:

A casual remark by a fellow Master Gardener indicated that she had recently learned that almonds were drupes. This led me on a research quest to find out exactly what might be included in this botanical category and why.   

drupes

Some common drupes.

A drupe is a fleshy fruit with a hard layer (the shell) surrounding the seed so that almonds, cherries, mangoes, nectarines, olives, peaches and plums all qualify.  Some botanists also include the fruit of date palms, hickory nuts, macadamias, pecans, pistachios and walnuts because of their outer, green fleshy husks and stony seed bearing endocarp.  The coconut is considered a dry drupe because of its waterproof, green outer layer and woody inner layer.  The large seed is actually embedded in the coconut meat.

As if the term drupe wasn’t enough new information for me, bramble fruits such as blackberries and raspberries are composed of small, individual drupes.  Each individual is called a druplet!

sweet almond

Sweet almond.

So when you’re out shopping for berries or nuts for that Thanksgiving feast this year, it might be fun to ask the produce clerk where he keeps the drupes.  After all, we botanically correct types shouldn’t be calling tryma (the specialized term for nutlike drupes) nuts!

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2 Responses to Is It a Nut or Not?

  1. Wendy says:

    I’m excited about this. I just read and reviewed a book about berry growing and knew exactly what you were talking about!

    Like

  2. herbdoc says:

    It’s amazing how a side comment can lead us to learning new things! I know I’m looking at “nuts” and “berries” in a whole new light!

    Like

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