Carpology is the study of the structure and morphology of fruits and seeds, but how can this study help us? Like anything in science, the study of the basics of any species of plant or animal will help us understand more of where we have been and where we are going. The study of carpology is becoming more important as we try to better grow and produce food for people all around the world.
The fruit is the part of a plant that actually protects the seeds and the in turn makes sure that these same seeds are dispersed. If we understand how the fruit and seed work together and their structure we can use this to create a better method for growing food. The demand for fresh fruit and vegetables today is at an all time high, which means we have to fine tune the processes and procedures to assist farmers in growing this produce.
By looking at the structure of the fruit and its seeds we can understand what positively impacts it. Then we can use these methods to either produce fruit more rapidly or fruit that contains even more essential nutrients. We can also determine what may negatively impact fruits and seeds and how this can impact not only production, but actually human health.
To study the fruit and seeds we need to understand its components:
1) Pericarp - This is the external part of the fruit that surrounds the seed(s) and is divided into three components:
- Exocarp - Is the very outer covering (like the skin of an apple or pear)
- Mesocarp - Is the middle covering of the fruit, often called the fleshy part
- Endocarp - Is the inner covering of the fruit and is usually a hardened covering of the seed
2) Seed - Covered by the endocarp and is protected until germination
There are three types of fruit and these include:
1) Simple Fruit - This type of fruit can be either dry or fleshy and come from the ripening of a simple or compound ovary with only one pistil (The pistil is the female reproductive part of the flower). Some examples of simple fruits include carrots, peas and beans.
2) Aggregate Fruit - An aggregate fruit comes from a flower with numerous simple pistils. Some examples include strawberries and raspberries.
3) Multiple Fruit - A multiple fruit created from a cluster of flowers and each flower produces a fruit and these grow into a single mass.
Some examples include pineapples and figs.