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Fruit & Vegetable Classifications

Updated July 19, 2017

Experts say that eating five portions of fruit and vegetables every day keep you fit and healthy. Fruit and vegetables can be classified according to their physical structure, while vegetables are commonly divided into groups such as leafy vegetables, fungi and fruiting vegetables. Fruits are divided into three groups, simple, aggregate and multiple, according to the number of ovaries of the plant they have developed from.

Leafy Vegetables & Fruiting Vegetables

Leafy vegetables are those in which the leaf of the plant is eaten and include lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts, celery and spinach. Fruiting or flowering vegetables include peas, tomatoes, eggplant and sweetcorn, in which the bud or the flower of fruit of the plant is eaten. These vegetables can be fleshy and have seeds.

Root Vegetables & Perennial Vegetables

Root vegetables are the underground parts of the plant and include potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions and leeks. The definition of a perennial vegetable is under constant debate; however, it can generally be defined as a vegetable that will be productive for more than two years. They include asparagus, rhubarb and choko.

Fungi, Rare & "Non-Vegetable" Vegetables

Although sometimes thought of as vegetables, mushrooms are actually fungi and include all varieties such as the shiitake mushroom, straw mushroom and truffles. Rare vegetables include ginger, fennel and wasabi. We also classify plants such as loofah and gourd as "non-vegetable" vegetables.

Simple, Aggregate & Multiple Fruits

Simple fruits develop from a single ovary. According to Botanical Online, this category can be subdivided into: berries, such as grapes; hesperidiums, including lemons and oranges; pepos, such as melon and pumpkin; drupes or stones, including peaches, plums and olives; and pomes, which include apples and pears. Aggregate fruits are derived from plants with more than one carpal or ovary. Examples include strawberry, blackberry and raspberry. Each of a raspberry's simple fruits are called drupelets because each one is like a small drupe. Multiple fruits are formed from a cluster of flowers, each producing a fruit that comes together into one single mass. Pineapples, figs and mulberries are examples of this classification.

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About the Author

Based in London, Cassandra Pope has been writing since 2006. She is assistant station manager of an online radio station and has written articles for the "London Student" newspaper, the culture blog Arts Attack and various other websites. Pope has a first-class Bachelor of Arts in war studies with film studies from King's College, London.