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Dr M’s autumn fruits quiz – the answers!

So did you try Dr M’s autumn fruits quiz?  If not, the link is here go and have a go!  Then check back for the answers (below).

Dr M promised to give family, genus, species, common English name AND the botanical term for each fruit for there is a complex taxonomy and associated terminology for the humble fruit: you need to know your nuts from your drupes and your berries from your pomes.

And as if that were not enough, there were a number of jokers in the pack, some plants which don’t have fruits! Just to keep you on your botanical toes!

Two botanical terms are pretty vital here, seed and fruit, both Gymnosperms and Angiosperms are seed plants so they bear seeds, but only Angiosperms bear fruits.

Seeds are a mature fertilized plant ovule, consisting of an embryo and its food store surrounded by a protective seed coat (testa). Both Angiosperms and Gymnosperms bear seeds.

Gymnosperms don’t bear fruits, generally they have cones with naked seeds, but some Gymnosperms do have fruit-like structures, these were the jokers in Dr M’s pack! Did you spot them (4 and 32)?

So, a fruit is a part of a flowering plant (Angiosperm) that derives from specific tissues of the flower, one or more ovaries, and in some cases accessory tissues. Fruits are the means by which Angiosperms disseminate seeds.

Simple fruits are derived from one ovary (e.g. Cherries 33) and aggregate fruits from more than one (e.g. Blackberries 8).

Fleshy fruits include berries (e.g. Flowering currant 22), drupes (e.g. Cherry 33 and Sloe 6) and pomes (a very variable Rosaceous fruit type including apples 15 and pears 19 and the Medlar 2 (the gorgeous featured image of Medlar in autumn is by @SeymourDaily AKA Phil Gates).

Dry fruits include nuts (e.g. Oak 11 and Sweet Chestnut 17), capsules (e.g. Rhododendron 14), achenes (Hops 30) and samaras (winged achenes e.g. Ash 25 and Field Maple 1 (double samara)).

Common names are not always accurate so Blackberries (8) are really aggregates of drupes and while Sweet Chestnut (17) is a true nut Horse Chestnut (12 and 23) is a capsule containing a seed (Sapindaceae).

There is a lot more to this fascinating fructilicious story but neither the time nor the space to cover it here.  A really excellent online source of information on fruits and fruit terminology is Waynes world, check it out here.

And now, at last, the answers!

Below are the 36 images once again and below that, a numerical list of the plants giving in each case the family, genus, species, common English name and a brief note on the botanical fruit type (or fruit-like structure):

Here are the answers, 36 fantastical fruits, so eat your fill (but please not the poisonous ones, I want you back here for my next quiz!).

There is not always unanimity about fruit classification so get in touch if you disagree with Dr M’s answers!

Family Genus Common name Fruit name
1 Sapindaceae Acer campestre Field Maple Double samara
2 Rosaceae Mespilus germanica Medlar Pome (like a Dog’s arse – according to Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)
3 Betulaceae Corylus avellana Hazel Nut
4 Gingkoaceae Gingko biloba Maidenhair Tree Fleshy sarcotesta derived from the testa and not the carpel wall as in Angiosperms
5 Hypericaceae Hypericum cf. androsaemum Tutsan Capsule
6 Rosaceae Prunus spinosa Blackthorn Drupe
7 Adoxaceae Sambucus nigra Elder Drupe
8 Rosaceae Rubus fruticosus (agg.) Bramble Head of drupes (aggregate fruit)
9 Rosaceae Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn Haw (a type of pome)
10 Celastraceae Euonymous europaeus Spindle Capsule with fleshy aril (poisonous)
11 Fagaceae Quercus robur Common Oak Nut with cupule
12 Sapindaceae Aesculus hippocastanum Horse Chestnut Dehiscent capsule enclosing a seed (resemblance to Sweet Chestut is purely superficial)
13 Ericaceae Rhododendron ponticum Rhododendron Capsule
14 Betulaceae Alnus glutinosa Alder Winged nut in a cone-like structure
15 Rosaceae Malus cf. domestica Apple Pome
16 Rosaceae Rosa canina Dog Rose Hip: head of achenes surrounded by succulent hypanthium (a false fruit)
17 Fagaceae Castanea sativa Sweet Chestnut Several nuts within prickly cupule (resemblance to Horse Chestnut purely superficial)
18 Rosaceae Prunus laurocerasus Cherry Laurel Drupe
19 Rosaceae Pyrus nivalis Snow Pear Pome
20 Rosaceae Sorbus aucuparia Rowan Pome
21 Rosaceae Cotoneaster horizontalis Wall Cotoneaster Pometum – fruiting receptacle or hypanthium with one cavity
22 Glossulariaceae Ribes sylvatica Flowering Currant Berry
23 Sapindaceae Aesculus hippocastanum Horse Chestnut Dehiscent capsule enclosing a seed (resemblance to Sweet Chestut is purely superficial)
24 Betulaceae Carpinus betulus Hornbeam Nut plus 3-lobed bract
25 Oleaceae Fraxinus excelsior Ash Samara
26 Sapindaceae Acer platanoides Norway Maple Double samara
27 Malvaceae Tilia x europaea Lime Nut with 1-3 seeds
28 Platanaceae Platanus x orientalis London Plane Achene with long hairs (arranged in spherical pendant clusters)
29 Scrophulariaceae Buddleia davidii Buddleia Two-celled capsule with persistent style
30 Cannabinaceae Humulus lupulus Hop Achene and bract arranged in dense clusters
31 Ranunculaceae Clematus vitalba Clematis Achene with feathery style (style extends after fertilisation)
32 Taxaceae Taxus baccata Yew Poisonous seed with succulent edible red aril (Gymnosperm so not a true fruit!)
33 Rosaceae Prunus domestica Cherry Drupe
34 Rosaceae Sorbus torminalis Wild Service Tree Pome
35 Rhamnaceae Frangula alnus Alder Buckthorn Berry
36 Adoxaceae Viburnum lantana Wayfaring Tree Berry

Image credits: Dr M’s with additional images from Richard Carter (35, 36), Donald Cooper (3), Phil Gates (2) and Anne Bell (4).


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