fruits and nuts

Monique Reed monique at bio.tamu.edu
Mon Jun 29 14:59:34 EST 1998


How is a walnut not a nut?  I was taught--and teach--that the outer layer of a 
walnut is fused bracts, not pericarp, and that a walnut *is* a nut...

M. Reed
(don't get me started on Brazils, pistachios, and almonds...)

>Hi Peggy, Fruit classification is not completely clearcut, as you have
>discovered.  However, a nut is botanically defined as a dry, indehiscent
>matured ovary with a stony exocarp, surrounded by involucral bracts.  Some
>examples are oak acorns (the "cap" is the bracts), as well as hickory and
>pecan (the "husk" is the bracts).  Beware common names, though, as neither
>peanuts (legumes) or walnuts (drupes) are true nuts!  Now, if that's not
>enough to drive you nutty... 

>Donna I. Ford-Werntz     West Virginia Univ.                                    
>Herbarium Curator (WVA)  Box 6057                                               
>Asst. Prof. Biol.        Morgantown, WV 26506                                   
>425 Brooks Hall          (304)293-5201 X2549                                    
>email: diford at wvu.edu    fax: (304)293-6363                                     
>Web site at http://www.as.wvu.edu/biology/                                      





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