24.6: Using a Dichotomous Key to Identify Fruit Type
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Some fruits are fleshy at maturity, like the peach pictured above, while others are dry. This is not always obvious, due to our cultural uses of fruits. For example, a green bean is a legume, which is a dry fruit at maturity. However, we harvest green beans while they are still immature and fleshy because that makes for a more enjoyable dining experience.
Some dry fruits break apart at maturity into separately packaged seeds (schizocarps), while others split open to release their seeds (dehiscent fruits). Other dry fruits don’t break open at all (indehiscent fruits). All of this terminology, in addition to identifying layers of the pericarp, is essential when you are identifying fruit types.
Use the dichotomous key at the end of this lab to identify the fruits available in your lab today. Record your findings in the space below, making drawings where helpful to do so.