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What Is the Difference Between a Fruit and a Vegetable?


Many people can say that an apple is a fruit and a pepper is a vegetable, but what scientifically is the distinction between the two types of foods?

The answer is based on the parts of the plant involved. Basically, fruits are developed from flowers, vegetables aren't.

A fruit is the ripened ovary/ovaries of the flower of a seed-bearing plant, and are derived from carpels, the plant's basic female reproductive part. Fruits contain seeds, which serve as the ovules of the plant. Once a plant starts growing flowers and the flowers are fertilized, the flower can then develop into a fruit with seeds.

Fruits are the ways that seeds can be spread, whether by falling from the plant to the ground or being eaten by an animal or human and spread in the leavings. Technically, anything with seeds should be classified as a fruit. Radishes and lettuce don't have seeds, but squash do!

Fruits are often so sweet because they contain plenty of fructose, which vegetables have little of.

Even nuts are fruits!

Vegetables are not made from flowers; instead, they are the plant's roots (carrots), stems (celery), leaves (cabbage) and other edible parts of a plant. And mushrooms don't count.

Here is a list of fruits many people consider to be vegetables:

  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash and zucchini
  • Peppers (all types!)
  • Avocado

Sites Referenced


Tony Sky from London UK on July 19, 2019:

That's nuts! :D

ATC on July 22, 2018:

Why was it so popular 6 years ago!!!?

HI on May 02, 2012:

Another fruit that is considered a plant is a banana. To prove it, cut a banana in half and then you will see little seeds.

#missinformed on January 12, 2012:

FALSE! There is no such thing as a veggie, it is made up, everything you eat is either a fruit, root, leaf

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visionandfocus from North York, Canada on May 29, 2011:

Well explained and very interesting. Finally I can tell my fruits from my veggies. Very informative hub. Thank you!

hameidinger on May 26, 2011:

Interesting hub. And great information.

sarclair on March 21, 2011:

A nut is a fruit? This is a neet hub. Thanks.

rose on February 10, 2011:

This is REALLY interesting.Thanks!

15wewe on December 04, 2010:

thanks mitch kaminski you helped me out a lot for putting a lot of information on the computer about a friut and a vegetable i really do apreciate that you also helped me from getting into trouble one more time thanks a lot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot i apreciate the hard work u put on the cuputer thank you...........

kamini on September 22, 2010:

very intresting

Lena Kovadlo from Staten Island, NY on July 13, 2010:

Very interesting and informative hub.

I've always considered an avocado a fruit (glad I was right), never thought nuts were fruits, and thought that tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc. were vegetables.

How about peas and string beans? Are they fruits or veggies?

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on April 04, 2010:

Thank you ChristopherD!

ChristopherD on March 31, 2010:

Love the Hub. I was also taught that with only one slight difference. Vegetables as whole do not exist. The root type are tubers........ Someone somewhere created the word up and no one ever has fought the distinction since.

Glad to see that someone else has a brain on their shoulders.

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on March 07, 2010:


VegetarianLikeMe on March 06, 2010:

My husband asked me a question about "clementines." He said, clementines don't have are they still fruit." I was like yes dear :)

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on February 03, 2010:

Good to know, Delaney!

Delaney Boling on January 31, 2010:

Interesting hub and well-researched. Here's an interesting fact: avocados and pistachios are in the same family. Many people think avocados are a vegetable (or even a fruit) but they're actually a nut.

Nicki on December 27, 2009:

Thanks I'm really grateful for this priceless knowledge. Helped me to prove to my friends I was right.

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on December 17, 2009:

People can, thirdmillenium... but I wouldn't like to! :)

thirdmillenium from Here, There, Everywhere on December 15, 2009:

Fruit or vegetable, can you cook without it?

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on November 22, 2009:

Thanks everyone! Choke, I think you're confused... Sugar content is not the way by which fruits and vegetables are differentiated

Choke on November 19, 2009:

This is all lies. Vegetables and Fruits are categorized entirely by sugar content... moron!

Destiny Rose on November 13, 2009:

The age old question of is a tomatoe a fruit or a veggie has been answered!

Coolmon2009 from Texas, USA on November 13, 2009:

Very nice hub. I have been wondering about this topic for a while but never took the time to investigate it. Thank You

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on November 04, 2009:

Thanks everyone, and thanks for the site, Panda Bear!

Panda Bear on November 02, 2009:

Great entry :). Fruits also tend to have a higher concentration of fructose than vegetables (since fruits are made to be eaten by animals for seed dispersal as you mentioned). That's why fruits are sweeter than vegetables, in general

I also wrote an article about this :

Sexy jonty from India on October 17, 2009:

Very well written hub .....

very much informative ......

Thank you very much for your great hub, for good advice, good wishes and support. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us.

naMR on September 22, 2009:


Joanie Ruppel from Texas on September 21, 2009:

I knew that some of these were fruits, but I guess I never thought about cucumbers and zucchini. Live and learn.

Loveofnight Anderson from Baltimore, Maryland on September 21, 2009:

knowing this makes the division easy

Suzie Parker on September 18, 2009:

You taught me something I didn't know tonight. Very interesting, thanks.

jenepha on July 14, 2009:

my doubt is ,after the development of flowers only both the vegetables and fruita develop.then why it is metioned as fruit develops from ovary....

swathin2 on July 13, 2009:

very interesting and cool one. nice way of differentiation between a fruit and a vegetable

Mitch Kaminski on May 28, 2009:

The difference is that a Fruit is what a Plant, Bush, or Tree produce. A vegetable IS the Plant, leaves or roots themselves. Carrots, onions, cabbage, turnips, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes. These are all, Plants or the roots of a plant. Thus Vegetation. Melons, berries, apples, cherries, plums, peaches, tomato’s, and dry fruits, such as nuts, grains, beans and peas. These are all something the Vegetation has produced. The apple tree produces, Apples. Apples are the fruit. If you ate the tree or the leave or roots of the tree, you would be eating Vegetation, or vegetables.

Toni on April 13, 2009:

Great answer. I have been wondering abouth this for a while but what are peas and runner beans then? They should be fruit also?!!

d.p on February 23, 2009:

u stinkers

Farmrr on February 18, 2009:

I was told that a strawberry is a nut not a fruit. Because its seed is on the outside

nokos on November 18, 2008:

Just remember (if it has seeds in the middle or on the outside for strawberries it is a fruit) that's how i remember. Oh and corn is a fruit to i didn't know that one.

mapsandearth on October 17, 2008:

i think fruit can't cook it but vegetable yes ;-)

Evan on October 14, 2008:

I had to surch this for my class.You told me the ansewr.

coolio on October 13, 2008:

cool , cheers

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on March 18, 2008:

Good question and great answer! :-)

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 17, 2008:

Good hub!

jaymz from USA on March 17, 2008:

Cool. I always get this confused.

fishskinfreak2008 from Fremont CA on March 17, 2008:

Very interesting

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