What is the Difference Between Fleshy and Dry Fruits

The main difference between fleshy and dry fruits is that fleshy fruit contains a fleshy pericarp at maturity whereas dry fruits contain a hard, papery or dry pericarp at maturity.

Fleshy and dry fruit are the two types of simple fruits that develop from the ripening of a simple or compound ovary of a flower with only one pistil. Fleshy fruits are adapted to the dispersal of seeds by animals while dry fruits are mainly adapted to the dispersal by the wind, expulsion or by getting attached to the fur or feathers of animals. Moreover, the three main types of fleshy fruits are the drupe, berry, and pome while the two main types of dry fruits are the dehiscent and indehiscent fruits. 

Key Areas Covered 

1. What are Fleshy Fruits
     – Definition, Structure, Types
2. What are Dry Fruits
     – Definition, Structure, Types
3. What are the Similarities Between Fleshy and Dry Fruits
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Fleshy and Dry Fruits
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms 

Berry, Dehiscent, Dispersal, Drupe, Dry Fruit, Fleshy Fruit, Indehiscent, Hesperidium, Pepo, Pome 

Difference Between Fleshy and Dry Fruits - Comparison Summary

What are Fleshy Fruits 

Fleshy fruits are one of the two types of simple fruits. They have a soft and pulpy pericarp. Generally, the pericarp is one of the two parts of true fruit. It surrounds the seeds. Additionally, this pericarp contains three layers: endocarp, mesocarp, and epicarp. The endocarp, which is the innermost layer of the pericarp, is hardened in fleshy fruits. Moreover, the pericarp is edible; therefore, it serves as an adaptation to attract animals, aiding the dispersal of seeds.

Fleshy vs Dry Fruits

Figure 1: Structure of a Fleshy Fruit

Furthermore, the three types of fleshy fruits are drupe, berry, and pome. Drupe is a one-seeded simple fruit developed from the hypogynous ovary. Its endocarp is hard or stony while the epicarp becomes a thin skin. In addition, its mesocarp is fleshy and fibrous. Some examples of drupes are cherries, peaches, and plums.

Difference Between Fleshy and Dry Fruits

Figure 2: Drupe

In contrast, berries are simple fruits with an enlarged ovary wall, which become juicy. Grape, banana, and gooseberry are examples of berries. Generally, there are two types of berries called hesperidium and pepo. Hesperidium is a special type of berries with a leathery rind forms. The interior of the fruit contains divisions by septa, indicating the number of carpels. Citrus is an example of hesperidium. In contrast, pepo contains a relatively hard rind with no interior divisions. Watermelon, gourds, and squash are examples of a pepo. Moreover, pome is an accessory fleshy fruit formed by a group of carpels more or less firmly united with each other and surrounded by and united to the floral tube or receptacle. Some examples of pomes are apple, pear, and mountain ash. 

What are Dry Fruits 

Dry fruits are the second type of simple fruits. They contain a hard, papery or dry pericarp. Moreover, they are true fruits containing seeds and they develop after fertilization. Also, the two parts of a dry fruit are the pericarp and the seeds. The pericarp of the dry fruits does not show a distinct differentiation of layers. That means; their pericarp is not edible; hence, it does not attract animals. Therefore, dry fruits consist of other mechanisms for the dispersal of seeds such as through expulsion wind, and by being attached to the fur or feathers of animals.

Fleshy vs Dry Fruits

Figure 3: Peony Fruit – Dehiscent

Furthermore, the two main types of dry fruits are the dehiscent and indehiscent fruits. Here, dehiscent fruits open at the maturity to shed their seeds. Moreover, the three main types of dehiscent fruits are legumes such as beans and pea, follicles such as larkspur, and capsules such as lilies and mustards. On the other hand, indehiscent fruits do not open at maturity. Most indehiscent fruits contain only one seed. Some examples of these fruits are nuts, grains, samara fruits such as maple, etc. 

Similarities Between Fleshy and Dry Fruits 

  • Fleshy and dry fruits are the two types of simple fruits. 
  • Both develop from the ripening of a simple or compound ovary of a flower with only one pistil. 
  • Moreover, they are true fruits, bearing seeds. 
  • As such, both develop after fertilization.  

Difference Between Fleshy and Dry Fruits 

Definition 

Fleshy fruits refer to the fruits (such as a berry, drupe, or pome) consisting largely of soft succulent tissue while dry fruits refer to the fruits (as a capsule or achene) in which the pericarp is not succulent or pulpy. 

Development of the Pericarp 

Fleshy fruit contains a soft and pulpy pericarp at maturity while dry fruits contain a hard, papery or dry pericarp at maturity. Thus, this is the main difference between fleshy and dry fruits.

Layers of the Pericarp 

Moreover, the three layers of the pericarp of a fleshy fruit are the epicarp, mesocarp, and endocarp while there is no differentiation of layers in the pericarp of dry fruits. Hence, this is also a difference between fleshy and dry fruits.

Dispersal of Seeds 

Besides, dispersal of seeds is another difference between fleshy and dry fruits. Fleshy fruits are adapted to the dispersal of seeds by animals while dry fruits are mainly adapted to the dispersal by the wind, expulsion or by getting attached to the fur or feathers of animals. 

Types 

The three main types of fleshy fruits are drupe, berry, and pome while the two main types of dry fruits are dehiscent and indehiscent fruits. 

Conclusion 

Fleshy fruits are a type of simple fruits with a soft and pulpy pericarp. Their endocarp is hardened. Significantly, the pericarp is edible; therefore, it aids in the dispersal of fruit by animals. Moreover, the three types of fleshy fruits are drupe, berry, and pome. On the other hand, dry fruits are the other type of simple fruits with a hard, papery or dry pericarp. They are adapted to disperse through expulsion or wind. Additionally, the two main types of dry fruits are dehiscent and indehiscent fruits. The main difference between fleshy and dry fruits is the structure of the pericarp. 

References:

1. “Classification of Fruit Types.” Fruit Key, Available Here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Drupe fruit diagram-en” By LadyofHats – Own work. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia   
2. “nectarines-ผลไม้-drupe-อาหาร-กิน-2807110” By Bru-nO (Pixabay License) via Pixabay
3. “Peony fruit dehiscence” By Nadiatalent – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia   

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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