Is Broccoli a Fruit, Vegetable or Flower? A Botanist Explains


Is Broccoli Fruit Flower or Vegetable

Although you might think, ‘Why would you even think of broccoli as a fruit?’, we get many questions such as ‘Is Broccoli a Fruit?’ asked on our website. We decided to enlist the help of a botanist to explain what category, fruit or vegetable, the broccoli plant falls under. But lets get to the answer first, Is Broccoli a Fruit?’

Broccoli is not a fruit, but rather a vegetable because botanically a fruit is a structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant. However, vegetables, such as the cruciferous vegetable broccoli are all the other plant parts, such as leaves, stems and roots.

Its the stems of the broccoli and the flower parts that are eaten, however in saying that it is considered an Angiosperm because it produces long seed pods after flowering.

According to biology an angiosperm is a plant that produces flowers. So angiosperms are flowering plants, and they also belong to one of the groups of plants which have seeds.

Is Broccoli Technically a Fruit?

Broccoli could be technically considered a fruit because it produces flowers of which the flowers produce seed pods, however, its not the long seed pods that are eaten, only the flower part and stems that are eaten. So it is debatable weather it should even be technically considered a fruit.

However, It could be more technically considered a flower than a fruit because the part that will form the little yellow flowers is cooked and eaten. Of course this is done before the little yellow flowers become apparant.

If you think thats weird enough check out this article: Are Bananas a Berry a Herb or a Fruit & Why Are Bananas Curved?

Why Is Broccoli Not A Fruit

Broccoli is not a fruit because it does not meet the botanical definition of a fruit. Any part that sprouts out of a seed is considered a fruit, such as an apple, orange, peach or pear. All other parts are considered vegetable. Brocolli does have seeds, however the seeds and pods are not considered eatable. The eatable part of the brocolli is different to the seed bearing part.

The seeds are the way this plant propogates itself and so can produce new broccoli plants.

Here are more reasons why broccoli is not a fruit:

  • Broccoli is considered part of the mustard or Brassicaceae family alongside other food crops such as brussels sprouts, collard greens, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. They are also called cruciferous vegetable because they resemble a cross. These vegetables contain substances that may protect against cancer.[1] Fruits also contain many benefits. Check out this article: 13 Proven Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
  • Broccoli (the parts we eat) does not contain any seeds. Because fruits (the parts we eat such as apples and pears) contain seeds and brocolli does not, it is not considered a fruit. Even Chefs recognize broccoli as a vegetable, rather than a fruit because it is not too sweet and has more of a savory taste.
  • Fruits are mostly sweet and eaten raw. Broccoli has to be cooked to make it palatable and is not sweet, but rather savory.

Is Broccoli a Vegetable?

Broccoli is a vegetable because it is the edible part of a plant that does not contain any seeds. It shares the similar categorization as kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts and turnips.

We cook and eat the stems and flower part of the brocolli plant just like we do with cauliflower and celery. So the simple asnswer is yes, broccoli is a vegetable.

Is Broccoli a Flower?

The broccoli plant is also considered a flower, because as it matures it produces flowers. So the most technically correct categorization of broccoli is a flower vegetable and not a fruit.

This is beacuse it has a head and a stem like cauliflower, which is edible, and it also has seeds that produce flowers which are not edible.

How To Grow Broccoli: From Seeds To Crops

Broccoli is such a versitile and healthy crop you wont be disappointed growing as its super easy to grow. Below we show you step by step how to grow broccoli from seed to harvest.

  • Place broccoli seeds in seeding pots or trays around half an inch deep.
  • Broccoli is a cool temperature crop and does not like temperatures above 29 degrees Celcius.
  • To grow broccoli in fall plant your broccoli seeds 3 months before the first frost.
  • To grow broccoli in spring plant your broccoli seeds indoors at least 6 months before the last frost.
  • After growing your broccoli seeds inside for 4 to 6 weeks you can transplant them outside.
  • Always plant in full sun as broccoli plants prefer full sunlight.
  • Broccoli also loves moist soil with lots of compost and worm casts.
  • Broccoli loves soil that is slightly acidic at between ph6 and ph7.
  • Spacing should be 12 inches apart and row spacing should be 24 inches apart.
  • Broccoli thrives in temperatures of between 15 to 21 degrees Celcius.
  • Keep the soil moist at all times.
  • When watering make sure you do not spray water onto the heads as this can encourage rot.
  • After 10 weeks, broccoli heads start to form.
  • After 3 months broccoli heads are ready to harvest.

Enjoy your homegrown broccoli. Its best to eat lightly steamed to keep all of the nutrition locked in.

Why not take a look at this article: Is Broccoli Man Made, Organic Or Geneticallly Engineered. You will find the answer very unusual.

What Vegetables are Really Fruits?

You may be surprised at what we do think of as vegetables are in reality fruits. Here is a list of 14 vegetables that are really fruits.

Why? They all have seeds inside around which the pulp or fleshy part that you eat grows.

  • Avacados
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplants
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkins
  • String Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Conclusion

Broccoli is not a fruit. It is categerized as a flower vegetable. It is a flower vegetable because it produces a flower but they green head and stalk that you eat is a vegetable.

For more interesting and fun facts why not check out this article on Is A Coconut A Fruit, Vegetable, Nut Or Seed. But first take a guess before reading the article and finding out the answer. You might be surprised.

References:

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 knowledgable farmer. We have recently undertaken a new Dragon Fruit farm with friends.

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