Why Do Plants Make Fruit: A Fruit Scientist Weighs In

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There are a number of reasons why plants make fruit, so I decided to write as many reasons as I could to cover this topic thoroughly. I myself love fruit and could eat ripe, fresh, organic fruit all day but that doesn’t really explain why plants make fruit. So here are the reasons below.

Plants make fruit to help protect and spread the seeds. Fruit also provides a source of nutrition and food for humans and animals. Plants contain DNA and the instructions to make fruit are encoded within this DNA.

These are probably the main reasons but there are a few more and you will learn about these as you continue reading this article. You will also learn the process a plant goes through in order to make the fruit that we so love and enjoy eating.

Fruits Help Protect And Spread Seeds

Before a fruit can form the flower of a plant needs to be fertilized, much like before a baby can be formed the mother’s egg is fertilized by the sperm in the ovaries. After pollination, the seed in the ovary of the flower is fertilized.

The ovary then swells becoming either hard or fleshy to protect the fertilized seed. The petals of the flower fall away from the fruit to allow the fruit to continue growing and ripening.

The seed will produce hormones that tell the cells of the ovary walls to thicken and multiply. This process is how the fruit grows around the seed and protecting it. Only when the seed is ready to be able to produce plants of its own will the fruit produce a hormone called ethylene, which in turn causes enzymes within the fruit to be released. These enzymes ripen the fruit, making it softer and sweeter.

When the fruit is fully ripe, animals, such as birds and rodents are attracted to the fruits’ smell and flavors and eat them. The seeds pass through the digestion process unharmed and are deposited within the feces some distance from the ‘mother’ plant ready to start life on their own to repeat the cycle.

Fruits Provide Nutrition and Food For Humans and Animals

It goes without saying that fruits provide a storehouse of nutrition, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, trace minerals, simple sugars, carbohydrates, and more. I have lived a mostly fruit diet and find that I have more energy, clear-headedness and feel more positive on a fruit diet than on any other diet.

You will find that many animals in their instinctive wisdom love fruit and will use fruit as a source of food and nutrition. They know when fruits are ripe and wait until the ripening process has been completed as unripe fruits lack the softness and sweetness of ripe fruit.

Just a word of caution, if you do eat fruit, is to have it separately from other foods such as meat and vegetables because fruits easily digest in 30 minutes whereas other foods take considerably longer, leaving you bloated, gaseous, and decreasing the overall nutrition of the food. I have had this experience many times when I have combined different food types together and the smell of unpleasant gas is not at all appealing to anyone around you.

Take a look at the food combining chart below to get an idea of what foods should be eaten together and what foods should be eaten apart.

Food Combining Chart
Food Combining Chart Credit: Optimum Health Institute

Plants DNA Contain Instructions To Make Fruit

Every living thing has DNA[1] which includes fruits and the plants that make the fruits. In fruit, the DNA is contained in the nucleus of the cell.

The DNA contains the instructions for building the organism, or in this case the fruit. So a simple reason why Plants Make Fruit is because the plant’s DNA has been coded with instructions to make fruit.

This is why some people are able to genetically engineer or modify fruit by changing some of the code or instructions in the plant’s DNA.

Why Do Some Plants Grow Fruit Around There Seeds?

Plants that grow fruit around their seeds are encouraging animals to eat the seeds. The sweet taste of the fruit is an invitation to the animal which in turn will then be spread the seed when the fruit is excreted after being digested. This is a process of seed dispersal or endozoochory.

It’s a type of mutualistic relationship[2] that we commonly see in the plant and animal kingdoms, whereby one species will give an incentive to another species in order for both to benefit.

The Function of Fruit in Plants

The function of fruit in plants is to keep the seed moist and protected and to scatter and disperse the seed via a mutualistic relationship between the plant and the animal eating the fruit.

As you are probably realizing fruit not only tastes good but actually benefits the plant that produces the fruit ensuring its survival by those animals that eat it. Unfortunately, as humans, we don’t add to the survival of the plant in its intended way as we will usually defect into a toilet bowl rather than directly into the ground.

How Does Producing Fruit Benefit The Plant

Producing fruit benefits the plant by helping to spread and propagate the seeds so that the plant species survive. Animals eat the fruit and excrete the seeds in rich manure of excrement to allow the seed to sprout and grow into another plant.

In this way, the plant is benefited even though the plant uses a fair amount of energy and food itself to make the fruit. However, the ability for the seeds to germinate along with a rich source of nutrients within the digested fruit pulp, makes the energy expenditure worthwhile.

Why Do Plants Make Vegetables?

Plants make vegetables because it is in their DNA to do so. They have been designed with the instructions to make leaves and stems and roots that we and other animals eat.

If we like eating the roots or stems or leaves we will cultivate the vegetable helping it to propagate and survive.

Juan & Raquel

We are Juan & Raquel, the guys behind Fruit Information. We've been interested in fruit over the last few decades and have been busy with improving our knowledge of the different varieties. I, Juan, have been almost a fruitarian for over a decade and almost solely living on fruits as my main dietary intake. My wife Raquel has worked on a fruit farm and also worked in a nursery and seedlings shop. She is a very experienced and knowledgeable farmer. We have recently undertaken a new Dragon Fruit farm with friends.

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