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Name: Dianne
Status: educator
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 12/10/2004


Question:
What is the difference between a nut and a seed?

Is a coconut really a nut?

Is a sunflower seed a nut?


Replies:
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.

http://waynesword.palomar.edu/fruitid1.htm

achenes and nuts

http://waynesword.palomar.edu/termfr2.htm

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

http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/plants_human/seedfruitlab.html

Van Hoeck



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