What is the difference between a nut and a seed?
Is a coconut really a nut?
Is a sunflower seed a nut?
A nut is an indehiscent, dry fruit containing 1 seed. A coconut is not a
nut, but instead is a fleshy fruit called a drupe. The dry fruit of a
sunflower is called an achene.
The following is an excellent web page for fruit terminology with clear
illustrations and examples.
achenes and nuts
Anthony Brach PhD.
A nut is a seed surrounded by a hard fruit. So the shell is the fruit, and
the nut is the seed. But not all seeds are nuts. There are many different
kinds of seed bearing fruits and the way they bear their seeds is how they are
classified. For instance, a strawberry bears its seeds on the outside of the
fruit. A raspberry is made of a bunch of "little fruits" each with a seed
inside. An apple has its seeds inside the fruit. A coconut is a fruit called a
drupe, and what you eat is the endosperm. So it is not a nut. Nuts are
classified as indehiscent fruits and sunflower seeds are in this category, but
are not nuts. They are actually called achenes.
You can find more info at
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Update: June 2012