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General Question

MickeyB's avatar

Why vegetables grow on ground and fruits on trees?

Asked by MickeyB (21 points ) April 4th, 2014

My 7 yr old son asks why most vegetables grow on ground and fruits on trees? I am unable to find a suitable response, need some help here.

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9 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

Most vegetables are actually fruit, the ones that aren’t fruit tend to be leaves or roots. Plenty of fruit also grows on the ground, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries…. there are also some “vegetables” like peas, that grow on trees.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

A fruit is the reproductive part of a plant, usually from a flower and containing the seeds of the plant. A vegetable can be a fruit, such as beans, corn etc., but it can also be another part of a plant not associated with reproduction. Since most trees reproduce from flowers, people associate fruit with trees. And people usually have vegetable gardens, so we associate vegetables with the ground. Now try to get that in terms a 7 year old will understand.

zenvelo's avatar

Strawberries grow on the ground; most berries grow on vines that sprawl all over the place.

I think maybe you might sit down with your son and point out that he made a generalization but if he looks more closely it isn’t that clear. It’s an opportunity for him to learn about a lot more vegetables and fruits.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Response moderated (Writing Standards)
gailcalled's avatar

Peas (and pole and runner beans) don’t grow on trees but on vines that need to be staked…or provided with some support…hoops, cages, strings on poles, etc. Like this one.

These and strawberry or blueberries are really easy to grow. How about starting a very small vegetable garden with your son, who is at the perfect age to get a thrill out of picking a tomato from his own tomato plant?

LostInParadise's avatar

Another exception is pineapples

It is a good question and I do not have a good answer either. One thing to consider is what, if any, animals help with propagation by eating the fruit (in the botanical sense) and spreading the seeds. For fruits on trees, much of this work is done by birds. Because of the distances covered by birds, this an advantage for the plants, and it makes sense that fruits on trees tend to be sweet to attract them.

Root vegetables like potatoes and onions do not tend to produce very large seed cases. I would doubt that any animals help in their propagation. A similar case could be made for leaf vegetables like lettuce. Are any animals involved in the propagation of other vegetables?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

As @Adirondackwannabe explains, a fruit is the reproductive part of a plant. If a so-called “vegetable” has seeds—tomato, squash, eggplant—it’s really a fruit. A vegetable is a vegetative part of a plant—leaf, stem, or root.

People usually don’t care about the horticultural distinction. If something tastes sweet, it goes into the fruit “bucket.” Botanically, tomatoes and pumpkins are berries, but they’re seldom thought of as such.

ibstubro's avatar

Avocados are berries. I just looked it up. As @SadieMartinPaul says, I would have put them in the vegetable category since they are not sweet.

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