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How do you get seeds out of vegetables?
Question Date: 2006-06-05
Answer 1:

Thank you for sending in this important question. I hope my answer will help you to understand a very important difference between fruits and vegetable that you can pass along to your friends and classmates (and even some grown-ups).

As you may already know, plants have many different parts, so let's start by listing some of them. Those parts that are buried underneath the ground -- the roots -- help the plants take up food and water from the soil. The long, slender part that grows above the ground and supports the rest of the plant is called the stem. Leaves growing around the stem use sunlight to make food for the rest of the plant. You probably noticed that during certain times of the year, flowers blossom and eventually turn into fruits. Inside the fruits are seeds. If the fruits aren't picked and shipped to your favorite supermarket, they will eventually fall to the ground. Over time, tiny microscopic creatures, insects, and some small animals will eat the fleshy part of the fruit that surrounds the seeds. The seed that is left behind will eventually grow to become a new plant. Simple, right?! Well, not exactly.

You might be surprised to hear that botanists -- scientists who study plants of all different kinds -- -- call anything with seeds inside a "fruit"! This means that tomatoes, pea pods, cucumbers, peppers, squash and avocados are all fruits, even though many people call them vegetables! Why? You guessed it -- because they all have seeds inside. If you don't believe me, ask a grown-up to cut them open so you can see for yourself.

According to botanists, real vegetables are taken from different parts of plants that don't have seeds, like the leaves, stems, and roots. Spinach and cabbage are really the leaves of certain plants. Asparagus and celery are stems. Carrots, radishes, beets, and turnips (yuk) are roots. What do they all have in common? No seeds! So, all these plant parts are real vegetables.

So, after everything I've just told you, do you think you would be very successful taking seeds from vegetables? Of course not because they don't have any! You shouldn't feel bad if you didn't know this -- many grown-ups don't either!

Answer 2:

Most vegetables (e.g. bean pods, squashes, tomatoes)are the non-sweet fruits of flowering plants, which means that they have seeds in them because they evolved as seed-bearing structures. Normally, a "seedless" fruit is a fruit that has been modified so that the seeds are soft and can be bitten through easily (e.g. a seedless watermelon), or they have the seeds fail to develop (I can't think of a good example). But such vegetables have seeds.

Vegetables that are not fruits (e.g. broccoli, asparagus) don't have seeds.

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