Lemons, Seeds and Size
Date: Winter 2009-2010
Is the size of a lemon determined by the number of seeds it has?
You have the opportunity to determine the answer yourself. Buy a
dozen lemons, measure their weight and their circumference along the
North-South direction and also along the East-West direction with a
tape measure. You can use a piece of string and then measure the
Cut each lemon into several, maybe 6 to 8, cuts along the
North-to-South axis of the lemon. Extract the seeds with a fork, or
other pointed tool. Count them. Now you can measure the number of
seeds in a lemon against the size of the lemon.
You now see that one has to be careful about what you mean by "the
size" of the lemon. Is it the circumference in the East-West or the
North-South directions? Is it the weight? There are many kitchen
scales that are accurate enough for your needs.
Or is it the average of the various "sizes", North-South compared to
East-West? This gets you into a very important subject -- What do
measurements mean? This is far more advanced than you need to go.
Also be aware, depending upon the lemon species, the answer may be none!
The size of a fruit is determined by many factors including genetics
and growing conditions
(soil fertility, water availability, and so on).
A larger fruit might have more seeds depending upon the type of fruit/tree.
Anthony R. Brach
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Update: June 2012