What is the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?


Many people can say that an apple is a fruit and a pepper is a vegetable, but what scientifically is the distinction between the two types of foods?

The answer is based on the parts of the plant involved. Basically, fruits are developed from flowers, vegetables aren't.

A fruit is the ripened ovary/ovaries of the flower of a seed-bearing plant, and are derived from carpels, the plant's basic female reproductive part. Fruits contain seeds, which serve as the ovules of the plant. Once a plant starts growing flowers and the flowers are fertilized, the flower can then develop into a fruit with seeds.

Fruits are the ways that seeds can be spread, whether by falling from the plant to the ground or being eaten by an animal or human and spread in the leavings. Technically, anything with seeds should be classified as a fruit. Radishes and lettuce don't have seeds, but squash do!

Fruits are often so sweet because they contain plenty of fructose, which vegetables have little of.

Even nuts are fruits!

Vegetables are not made from flowers; instead, they are the plant's roots (carrots), stems (celery), leaves (cabbage) and other edible parts of a plant. And mushrooms don't count.

Here is a list of fruits many people consider to be vegetables:

  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash and zucchini
  • Peppers (all types!)
  • Avocado

More by this Author

Comments 43 comments

fishskinfreak2008 profile image

fishskinfreak2008 8 years ago from Fremont CA

Very interesting

jaymz profile image

jaymz 8 years ago from USA

Cool. I always get this confused.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Good hub!

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Good question and great answer! :-)

coolio 8 years ago

cool , cheers

Evan 8 years ago

I had to surch this for my class.You told me the ansewr.

mapsandearth profile image

mapsandearth 8 years ago

i think fruit can't cook it but vegetable yes ;-)

nokos 8 years ago

Just remember (if it has seeds in the middle or on the outside for strawberries it is a fruit) that's how i remember. Oh and corn is a fruit to i didn't know that one.

Farmrr 7 years ago

I was told that a strawberry is a nut not a fruit. Because its seed is on the outside

d.p 7 years ago

u stinkers

Toni 7 years ago

Great answer. I have been wondering abouth this for a while but what are peas and runner beans then? They should be fruit also?!!

Mitch Kaminski 7 years ago

The difference is that a Fruit is what a Plant, Bush, or Tree produce. A vegetable IS the Plant, leaves or roots themselves. Carrots, onions, cabbage, turnips, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes. These are all, Plants or the roots of a plant. Thus Vegetation. Melons, berries, apples, cherries, plums, peaches, tomato’s, and dry fruits, such as nuts, grains, beans and peas. These are all something the Vegetation has produced. The apple tree produces, Apples. Apples are the fruit. If you ate the tree or the leave or roots of the tree, you would be eating Vegetation, or vegetables.

swathin2 profile image

swathin2 7 years ago

very interesting and cool one. nice way of differentiation between a fruit and a vegetable

jenepha 7 years ago

my doubt is ,after the development of flowers only both the vegetables and fruita develop.then why it is metioned as fruit develops from ovary....

Suzie Parker profile image

Suzie Parker 7 years ago

You taught me something I didn't know tonight. Very interesting, thanks.

loveofnight profile image

loveofnight 7 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

knowing this makes the division easy

johnr54 profile image

johnr54 7 years ago from Texas

I knew that some of these were fruits, but I guess I never thought about cucumbers and zucchini. Live and learn.

naMR 7 years ago


Sexy jonty profile image

Sexy jonty 7 years ago from India

Very well written hub .....

very much informative ......

Thank you very much for your great hub, for good advice, good wishes and support. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us.

Panda Bear 7 years ago

Great entry :). Fruits also tend to have a higher concentration of fructose than vegetables (since fruits are made to be eaten by animals for seed dispersal as you mentioned). That's why fruits are sweeter than vegetables, in general

I also wrote an article about this : http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2332726/t...

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California Author

Thanks everyone, and thanks for the site, Panda Bear!

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

Very nice hub. I have been wondering about this topic for a while but never took the time to investigate it. Thank You

starme77 profile image

starme77 7 years ago

The age old question of is a tomatoe a fruit or a veggie has been answered!

Choke 7 years ago

This is all lies. Vegetables and Fruits are categorized entirely by sugar content... moron!

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California Author

Thanks everyone! Choke, I think you're confused... Sugar content is not the way by which fruits and vegetables are differentiated

thirdmillenium profile image

thirdmillenium 7 years ago from Here, There, Everywhere

Fruit or vegetable, can you cook without it?

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California Author

People can, thirdmillenium... but I wouldn't like to! :)

Nicki 7 years ago

Thanks I'm really grateful for this priceless knowledge. Helped me to prove to my friends I was right.

Delaney Boling profile image

Delaney Boling 6 years ago

Interesting hub and well-researched. Here's an interesting fact: avocados and pistachios are in the same family. Many people think avocados are a vegetable (or even a fruit) but they're actually a nut.

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California Author

Good to know, Delaney!

VegetarianLikeMe profile image

VegetarianLikeMe 6 years ago

My husband asked me a question about "clementines." He said, clementines don't have seeds...so are they still fruit." I was like yes dear :)

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California Author


ChristopherD 6 years ago

Love the Hub. I was also taught that with only one slight difference. Vegetables as whole do not exist. The root type are tubers........ Someone somewhere created the word up and no one ever has fought the distinction since.

Glad to see that someone else has a brain on their shoulders.

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you ChristopherD!

lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 6 years ago from Staten Island, NY

Very interesting and informative hub.

I've always considered an avocado a fruit (glad I was right), never thought nuts were fruits, and thought that tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc. were vegetables.

How about peas and string beans? Are they fruits or veggies?

kamini 6 years ago

very intresting

15wewe 6 years ago

thanks mitch kaminski you helped me out a lot for putting a lot of information on the computer about a friut and a vegetable i really do apreciate that you also helped me from getting into trouble one more time thanks a lot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot thanks alot i apreciate the hard work u put on the cuputer thank you...........

rose 5 years ago

This is REALLY interesting.Thanks!

sarclair profile image

sarclair 5 years ago

A nut is a fruit? This is a neet hub. Thanks.

hameidinger profile image

hameidinger 5 years ago

Interesting hub. And great information.

visionandfocus profile image

visionandfocus 5 years ago from North York, Canada

Well explained and very interesting. Finally I can tell my fruits from my veggies. Very informative hub. Thank you!

#missinformed 5 years ago

FALSE! There is no such thing as a veggie, it is made up, everything you eat is either a fruit, root, leaf

HI 4 years ago

Another fruit that is considered a plant is a banana. To prove it, cut a banana in half and then you will see little seeds.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article