Why Pumpkins Are Fruits and Other Cool Botany
Think you know what a fruit is?
Most people think of fruit as being sweet or tart, juicy or crunchy, or peel-able like a banana—but none of that matters, botanically speaking (and that’s what we speak here at the Chicago Botanic Garden). The way botanists see it, fruits are made by flowering plants and contain seeds. So pumpkins are fruits. What about tomatoes? Yep.
Feeling groovy on the fruit-or-not question now? Take the Fruit Pursuit quiz below.
Is This a Fruit?
Roll over each picture for the answer.
bell peppers are fruits.
Fun fact: Red bell peppers are green peppers that have ripened on the vine.
buckthorn berries are fruits.
Fun fact: Birds go crazy over the small black berries.
jackfruits are fruits.
Fun fact: A jackfruit can weigh up to 100 pounds, or about as much as a big dog.
pineapples are fruits.
Fun fact: Pineapples are native to South America, not Hawaii.
rhubarbs are not fruits.
Fun fact: We treat a lot of fruits like vegetables, but rhubarb is a vegetable that we treat like a fruit.
maple samaras are fruits.
Fun fact: Maple trees make these fruits with little wings. The fruits fly in the wind.
Photo of buckthorn by Matt Lavin, photo of jackfruit by Len Worthington, photo of pineapple by Diego Delso, and photo of maple samaras by Julie Falk.