Name: Linda B. W.
Are grains, such as corn or wheat, classified as a fruit
or a vegetable? If neither fruit or vegetable, what are they?
Botanically, the grains/seeds are the fruit of the individual plant.
Nutritionally, grains are referred to as vegetables.
Anthony Brach, Ph.D
The general definition for a fruit is a part of the plant that bears the
seed. So when you eat the corn kernels you are eating the seeds, but if it
is corn on the cob, the cob is the fruit. Anything that bears a seed is a
fruit, i.e., tomato, apple, green pepper, nutshells, etc. Vegetables are the
parts of the plant that do not have anything to do with reproduction
plant cells are totipotent-they can regenerate a new plant if conditions are
correct). But anyway-example of vegetables are roots, stems and leaves. So
lettuce, carrots, potatoes are true vegetables. I believe that some fruits
were legally classified as vegetables in the past because tariffs and taxes
were lower on vegetables!
Most grains are seeds -- corn, wheat, oats, barley -- of various types of
Click here to return to the Botany Archives
Update: June 2012