Inflorescence - Peduncle

Peter Stevens peter.stevens at MOBOT.ORG
Tue Dec 7 09:17:15 CST 2004

At 10:14 PM -0800 12/6/04, Curtis Clark wrote:
>Richard's example of "berry" is a good one. A lot of the fruit
>terminology taught in general botany classes is a result of narrowly
>descriptive terms, often from agricultural contexts, being used
>typologically. My favorite is "pepo", a fruit with a hard or leathery
>exocarp (but it's really the hypanthium, not part of the pericarp at
>all), as long as it's in the Cucurbitaceae, because otherwise bananas
>would be pepos, and we can't have that. Sometimes it almost seems easier
>to throw out existing terminology and start over rather than have to
>deal with the detritus of the past.

Which is why I don't bother with fruit terms in my families class,
emphasising that understanding the morphology of fruits (for which
terms are needed if we are to talk about it....!) is most important.
In the case of fruits in particular, it may not be much use to start
over.  One of the things that upset students is the large number of
terms they have to learn, but I think emphasising descriptive
morphology rather than non-intuitive terms is the way to go, of
course putting everything in the context of a phylogeny.  Then one
can really think of  changes of morphology over time.


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