What’s the Difference Between Aggregate and Multiple Fruit?

By: Pittman & Davis | On: | Category: Fruit Information


Fresh fruit baskets from Pittman & Davis are packed with delicious fruits of all kinds – citrus fruit, orchard fruits, drupes and more. But those aren’t the only classifications.

Another category of fruits are labeled multiple and aggregate fruits. But how do we distinguish between these two types? When you send fruit baskets to loved ones, you might know already that the fruits in them come from the flowers of plants – that’s true of all fruits. The flower is the reproductive structure of a plant, and once fertilized, the ovaries mature into fruits. While all fruits have that in common, the fruit that originates from the flower may be an aggregate fruit or a multiple fruit. Read on for explanations of what this means:

What are aggregate fruits?

When shopping for fruit basket ideas at Pittman & Davis, you won’t find any aggregate fruits. An aggregate fruit is a fruit that comes from a single flower with a large number of pistils. This means that an aggregate fruit is actually a cluster of small fruits, each one originating from a separate carpel of the flower. To produce an aggregate fruit, the plant’s flower needs to possess an apocarpous ovary. Each of the flower ovaries can form fruit; since all these fruits develop from a single flower, an aggregate fruit is formed. Sometimes the aggregate fruit merges, giving the appearance of a single fruit. At other times the fruits remain separate from one another, forming a cluster of fruits.

Three types of aggregate fruits are:

  1. Blackberries
  2. Strawberries
  3. Raspberries

When you order fruit online from Pittman & Davis you probably won’t see offerings of the above fruits.

What is a multiple fruit?

So much for aggregate fruits…but you can send fruit from Pittman & Davis that qualifies as multiple fruit – pineapple!

Multiple fruit (also known as compound fruit) is a type of fruit that comes from that is derived from a cluster of flowers. This means that each small fruit of the multiple fruit originates from the separate flowers of the cluster. In a multiple fruit, you can usually see that the small fruits are very close together.

In this type, the rachis and flower cluster fuse to form a compound fruit. The fertile fruits have juicy, edible leaves, while the bract or stem forms protective shells around them. The hard, bark-like spines form the stigmas of the carpels. The seeds (which are also edible) is covered by a membrane.

One of the best examples of a multiple fruit is the pineapple. A single pineapple consists of many berries that have grown together. Pineapples don’t grow on trees…like an aloe plant, a pineapple plant resembled a spiky crown of leaves growing right up out of the ground. These tapered, sword-like leaves grow up to 5 feet long. A pineapple plant flowers only once and produces just one pineapple out of the top of the central stem of the plant before it dies. But it doesn’t need seeds to reproduce – if you remove the leafy crown that grows out of its top, you’ll find a small root that, when planted, will produce a new pineapple plant. Before the mature plant dies it also produces offspring in the form of suckers or “pups” that grow between the leaves of the mature pineapple.

When eaten in moderation, pineapple is a healthy addition to your diet. Just one cup of pineapple provides you with more than a day’s worth of vitamin C and is a rich source of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, potassium, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants. Plus, fresh pineapple is also the only known source of the enzyme bromelain, which may help treat chronic inflammation, allergies, osteoarthritis, and other health conditions.

How aggregate fruits and multiple fruits are the same…and not the same.

To sum up, flowering plants produce aggregated and multiple fruits. Aggregate fruits originate from a single flower with multiple free carpels, while multiple fruits originate from many strongly grouped flowers of an inflorescence. Both aggregate fruits and multiple fruits originate from multiple ovaries, so both are multi-ovarian fruits. They appear as clusters of fruit and can be seen in identical shapes.

Whether it’s a multiple fruit or an aggregate fruit, it’s sure to be healthy and delicious and a great addition to your daily diet! That’s because all fruits are packed with antioxidants that boost immunity along with many other health benefits. Plus, they’re easy to add to any recipe from salads to desserts.

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