Garden Vocabulary: Fruit

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This Garden Vocabulary series seeks to introduce and explain to you — and in many cases, myself — words and terms associated with gardening. Please let me know if  there are any terms you would like me to explore. You can leave your ideas in the comments section and we can learn together!


In botany, a fruit is a part of a flowering plant that derives from specific tissues of the flower, one or more ovaries, and in some cases accessory tissues. Fruits are the means by which these plants disseminate seeds. Many of them that bear edible fruits, in particular, have propagated with the movements of humans and animals in a symbiotic relationship as a means for seed dispersal and nutrition, respectively; in fact, humans and many animals have become dependent on fruits as a source of food.[1] Fruits account for a substantial fraction of the world’s agricultural output, and some (such as the apple and the pomegranate) have acquired extensive cultural and symbolic meanings.

Read the entire article on Wikipedia, Fruit

For most people, botanists excluded, the term fruit can be fairly fluid. The most obvious example of this is the tomato. While normally considered a vegetable, botanically it is a fruit. The tomato that we eat is a reproductive structure containing seeds surrounded by a nourishing flesh (for the seeds) that allows the plant to propagate. Vegetables, on the other hand, are plants where we eat the leaves, stems or roots.

You can further divide fruits into two more categories — fleshy fruits and dry fruits. These two then subdivide into even more divisions. See the link below from entitled Botany 101: Fruits and Seeds for more information.

While it might not make a difference to most people, knowing whether our garden products are fruits or vegetables can come in handy when planting, caring and harvesting these foods. 

Fig Fruit and Leaves

Seed leaves are part of the plant embryo, established after seed fertilization and used to start the plant growing. They use the food stores of the original seed to germinate and begin growing. For most garden plants, seed leaves appear as 2 leaves on the seedling whereas the first true leaves are often seen in a group of four leaves further along the stem than the seed leaves. In many cases, the seed leaves look distinctly different from the true leaves of whatever plant you are growing. You can see an example of this is the video below.

Further reading on Fruit:

Previously on Garden Vocabulary:

Books on Hold: Dirt Candy: A Cookbook: Flavor-Forward Food from the Upstart New York City Vegetarian Restaurant by Amanda Cohen

Books on Hold is a blog series dedicated to books I have seen in passing and requested from my local library. See more in the series at the end of this blog post. — Douglas

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a fan of vegetables. That said, I am always on the lookout for vegetable recipes that allow me to find a way “into” the vegetable world and get some healthier food into me.

Dirt Candy: A Cookbook: Flavor-Forward Food from the Upstart New York City Vegetarian Restaurant by Amanda Cohen


“Amanda Cohen does not play by the rules. Her vegetable recipes are sophisticated and daring, beloved by omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan diners alike. Dirt Candy: A Cookbook shares the secrets to making her flavorful dishes—from indulgent Stone-Ground Grits with Pickled Shiitakes and Tempura Poached Egg, to hearty Smoked Cauliflower and Waffles with Horseradish Cream Sauce, to playfully addictive Popcorn Pudding with Caramel Popcorn. It also details Amanda’s crazy story of building a restaurant from the ground up to its currently being one of the hardest-to-get reservations in New York City—all illustrated as a brilliant graphic novel. Both a great read and a source of kitchen inspiration, Dirt Candy: A Cookbook is a must-have for any home cook looking to push the boundaries of vegetable cooking.”

Previously in Books on Hold:

One Year Ago (2012); Daisies


Daisies Daisies Daisies

Free Koi Pond Desktop, Tablet and Smartphone Wallpaper for February 2013

Here is a selection of free wallpapers for your computer desktop or smartphone. Right-click and select Save Image As… to download them to your own computer. On your smartphone, click the image to see the full-sized image, tap and hold, then select Save to Camera Roll. You can then attach the wallpapers using your phone’s preferences.

Desktop Wallpaper 

Download full-sized version

iPad/Tablet Wallpaper

Download full-sized iPad/Tablet wallpaper

iPhone4/Smartphone Wallpaper

Download full-sized iPhone 4 wallpaper

iPhone5/Smartphone Wallpaper

Download Full-sized iPhone 5 Wallpaper

 Previous garden wallpapers:

Interesting Plant: Swiss Chard “Bright Lights”

Mentioned during this week’s #gardenchat (1/14/2013)

Download Transcript of this chat

Chard bright lights

Swiss Chard “Bright Lights”

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More information on Swiss Chard “Bright Lights”:


Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

One Year Ago (2012): Cherry Blossoms at Balboa Park, Los Angeles, CA


Cherry Blossoms at Balboa Park, Los Angeles, CA

Cherry Blossoms at Balboa Park, Los Angeles, CA Cherry Blossoms at Balboa Park, Los Angeles, CA Cherry Blossoms at Balboa Park, Los Angeles, CA Cherry Blossoms at Balboa Park, Los Angeles, CA 

Video: In the garden…Koi Pond

“In the garden…” is a series for A Gardener’s Notebook highlighting what is happening in my garden, my friend’s gardens and California gardens throughout the seasons.

Visiting friends today, I found myself sitting beside her beautiful backyard Koi Pond with my iPhone. Of course, I had to take some footage to share with you. After a few minutes watching you realize why they are so prized. The fish lull you into a state of calm and meditation as you watch them swim in random patterns — their bright colors sparking in the sunshine.


Watch all the past “In the garden…” videos in this YouTube playlist.

More information on koi:


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Six Years Ago: First Daffodils 2007

A look back into past years in the garden.

First Daffodils 2007 - PaD 2/3/07

One Year Ago: Tomatoes in February?!?

A look back on what was happening the garden one year ago today.

Tomatoes in February?!

Garden Inventory: Snowflakes (Leucojum)

Garden Inventory is a series where I begin an inventory of all the plants and trees in my garden. Along with some of my own pictures, I will link to various sources of information about each plant and tree so we can learn a little more together.

I would also like to highlight your special plants and tress. Pass along your favorite plants in the comments and I will use them for future Garden Inventory posts. — Douglas

Garden Inventory: Snowflake (Leucojum)

“The snowflakes are native to southern Europe, from the Pyrenées to Romania and western Russia, but they have been introduced and have naturalized in many other areas, including the east coast of North America. They have narrow, strap-like, dark green leaves. The flowers are small and bell-shaped, white with a green (or occasionally yellow) spot at the end of each tepal. They have a slight fragrance. —

I have been going around and around on these flowers. I think it is the usage of common names that is messing me up. I have heard them called Snowdrops, Snowbells and now, more correctly, I think, Snowflakes aka Leucojum. Based on the pictures I have seen online, I am going with Leucojum.

These are usually the second bulbs to flower in the garden each Winter (Spring for us here in the San Fernando Vally of Los Angeles). First the paperwhites, then these, then the Daffodils. Their bloom varies a week or so each way, according to my Google Calendar-based gardening journal, but it is always associated with the first rains of our Winter rainy season.

I love the delicate nature of these flowers. You don’t even notice the little green dots at the end of each petal until you get right down on their level and check them out. I love macro photography, so I often “get in the face” of various plants and these always yield pleasant surprises.

Just as I have planted more daffodils over the last 3 years, I think I am going to find a source for more of these and scatter them about the garden more. They seem to like it here.

 Garden Inventory: Snowflakes (Leucojum) - 5

Garden Inventory: Snowflakes (Leucojum) - 4Garden Inventory: Snowflakes (Leucojum) - 3Garden Inventory: Snowflakes (Leucojum) - 2Garden Inventory: Snowflakes (Leucojum) - 1

Photos of Snowflakes leaves and stems

More information on Snowflakes (Leucojum):


Previously on Garden Inventory: