What is the difference between fruits and vegetables?

          Generally the edible-fleshy part with seeds which develops from the flowers of any plant is called a fruit, whereas trunks, leaves and flowers of herbaceous plants used as food are called vegetables. But scientifically speaking, the above definitions are not correct.

           According to botanists the part of the plant that carries seeds and produced by the ovary of a flower plant is called fruit and the remaining part used for food is called vegetable. Scientists have divided fruits into three categories (i) fruits with pulp and seeds such as apple, orange, watermelon etc. (ii) fruits with stones, such as plum, cherry, peach, etc., (iii) dry fruits such as almonds, walnuts etc.

          According to botanists, beans and peas also fall under the category of fruits. Cucumbers and marrows are also fruits. But cabbage, turnip, radish, cauliflower – all are vegetables. Onions, potatoes etc., are also vegetables.

          In USA a controversy over tomato went on for a long time. Finally the U.S. Supreme Court had to decide the issue. According to botanical sciences, tomato is a fruit but generally it is used as a vegetable. Keeping both the views in mind, the Supreme Court ruled in 1893 that tomato is a vegetable from commercial point of view. In science, however, this can be treated as a fruit. In reality, the scientific definitions of fruits and vegetables do not agree with the general usage. In our common language we treat some fruits as vegetables such as brinjal, peas etc. and some vegetables as fruits, such as raw banana.