Fleshy Fruits

The ovary wall matures into the fruit wall known as the pericarp. It is made up of 3 layers. In some fruit all 3 layers develop but in others only one. Typically the middle layer (mesocarp) becomes fleshy, the outer layer (exocarp) may develop into the skin and the inner layer (endocarp) may become stony and surround the seeds. In other fleshy fruits such as in the Apple in the Rose Family, the hypanthium becomes part of the fruit as well as the ovary wall.


A berry is a stoneless fruit in which the ovary walls have produced a skin and a fleshy pulp that surround the seeds from a single ovary. Tomato, gooseberry, elderbery, grape, fuchsia and deadly nightshade are examples. In the tomato, the ovary has 2 locules and the photo above shows many ovules (seeds) in each locule growing on a swollen central (axile) placenta. 

tomato berry

A hesperidium is a berry which has a thick rind and a very juicy interior divided into segments by septa. Typical of citrus fruits such as the orange, grapefruit and lemon. In the orange shown here there are ten segments (locules) formed from ten united carpels. The segments are filled with juice sacs and seeds and the septa are white.

orange hesperidium

A drupe consists of 3 of the ovary wall layers – an outer skin, a fleshy middle layer and an inner stony layer which surrounds the seed. Cherry, Blackthorn, Olive, Apricot, Peach and  Plum fruits are drupes. They are often known as Stone fruits and are usually formed from a single-seeded ovary.

cherry drupes

A pome consists of a core formed by the inner wall of several united carpels enclosed within a fleshy part made up from the outer walls and the hypanthium. Apple, Pear, Quince, Rowan, Hawthorn and Whitebeam fruits are pomes. This is an accessory fruit because it includes tissue from the hypanthium.

apple pome
Accessory Fruit – a fruit in which some of the flesh is formed not from ovary but from adjacent tissue such as the hypanthium or the receptacle. Sometimes called a pseudocarp.
The Hip, is the fruit of the Rosa genus. The first photo shows the hypanthium of the Dog Rose species Rosa canina before the formation of the hip. The next photo shows a hip, open to reveal the seeds. The hip consists of a red fleshy covering, derived from the hypanthium  which encloses a number of yellow seeds (hairy achenes), each one formed from a single ovary. Another example of an accessory fruit is the Strawberry in which achenes dot the outside of a fleshy fruit derived from the receptacle of the flower
rose hypanthium
rose hip
strawberry accessory fruit
Aggregate Fruit – a fruit-like structure that has developed from the ‘free’ carpels of a single flower and is composed of a number of separate fruits.
The Blackberry is the fruit of the Rubus genus. It is an ‘Aggregate’ fruit because it is made up of a number of drupelets (small drupes). The first photo  shows a single blackberry. Each blackberry is made up of a number of druplets formed from the individual carpels at the centre of a single flower. The second photo shows the fruit of a Clematis vitalba Travellers. The fruit is an aggregate of achenes. The third photo shows the fruit of a Delphinium which is an aggregate of follicles.
blackberry aggregate fruit
achene aggregate clematis
follicle aggregate delphinium