General Question

IBERnineD's avatar

Are there any vegetables that grow on trees?

Asked by IBERnineD (7289points) December 14th, 2008

This was an odd question that came up when playing the 10th game of road 21 questions. Nobody was able to answer.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

21 Answers

hannahsugs's avatar

It probably depends on how you define “vegetable.” Biologically, anything with seeds is a fruit, while a “vegetable” is a traditional word meaning the edible part of a plant. It is not a scientific definition, because it encompasses flower buds (broccoli) roots (carrots) fruits (tomatoes) leaves (kale), etc.

Biologically tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, avocados, etc are fruits, although in culinary use they are vegetables.

Avocados, for instance grow on trees. I would guess that more true “vegetables” (that are not fruits in any sense) don’t grow on trees because trees are generally fibrous and tough, unlikely to be palatable to humans.

More here

La_chica_gomela's avatar

So avocados are technically fruits?? craziness!

babygalll's avatar

Nope. There aren’t any vegetables that grow on trees.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

What about mushrooms? They grow on trees, dead ones, but they’re still trees (heehee). I guess some mushrooms grow on live tree roots, too. I know that’s not what you meant, but I just thought I’d throw it out there. Of course I don’t even know if mushrooms are technically veggies anyway.

Mtl_zack's avatar

Vegetables aren’t really vegetables. There was a United States supreme court case about this, involving tariffs and whether a tomato was a fruit or a vegetable. Fruits and vegetables are legal terms to differentiate the rates of tariffs. Biologically, it’s fruits and legumes. Legumes grow under the ground and fruits grow above ground.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Zack, I don’t understand that last post at all. You said “Biologically, it’s fruits and legumes.” Are you saying vegetables don’t exist? What’s broccoli then? Or celery? These are neither legumes nor fruits… Or are you saying that the US Supreme Court defines broccoli as a fruit? Can you please point us to an article or some other info about the case, so we can learn more about it? Thanks! <3

Mtl_zack's avatar

Fruits are things that grow above ground. Legumes grow under the ground. Veggies are a category that countries use to simplify tariffs. Veggies can contain both groups.

Fruits: apple, orange, carrot, broccoli
Legumes: beans, potato, onion
Vegetables: broccoli, carrot, potato <—notice how there’s both fruits and legumes

The supreme court case is here

aidje's avatar

The Wikipedia article on tomatoes has a pretty good explanation of the differences between legal, botanical, and culinary categorization.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Zack, thanks for the link! Very interesting! I love learning new things!

I read the wikipedia article on Nix vs. Hedden, but the word “legume” wasn’t in it. I don’t understand how whether something is a legume are not is relevant. What am I missing? The article just said that the supreme court ruled that the law would apply to produce that were considered vegetables under the “standard” definition of a vegetable, not the botanical definition.

Mtl_zack's avatar

let me try again:

Fruit: apple, banana, tomato, orange
Legume: potato, beans, onion

Fruit: apple, orange, banana
Vegetable: apple, onion, tomato

The culinary/legal terms “fruit” used the botanical term “fruit”. The culinary/legal term “vegetable” used terms examples from botanical “fruit” and “legume”.

Mtl_zack's avatar

Or, you can say that culinary/legally, a fruit is something used in dessert, and a vegetable is something used in a salad or main dish—all according to American standards.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

so botanically there’s no vegetable category? is that it? i think i get what you’re saying now. thanks!

augustlan's avatar

@la chica: Mushrooms are a fungus…even though I consider them a vegetable.

akmcg's avatar

What about Breadfruit? It’s a starchy tropical item that has no seeds but grows on trees that look Seussesque….hmmmm

hannahsugs's avatar

@akmch: I am not familiar with breadfruit, but this article implies that Breadfruit naturally is a “true” fruit, bearing seeds and everything. Some breeders have selectively bred seedless varieties for consumption.

Harp's avatar

Technically, mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi

As a tree-based vegetable, I’d nominate hearts of palm.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Good one, harp!!

90s_kid's avatar


Don’t even start——I am an expert.
Tomatoes are fruit along with pumpkins. :) Avocados, too. And isn’t veggies and fruits determined by seeds?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@90s_kid by seeds? How do you figure, there are both fruits and veggies with seeds in them.

Latimeria's avatar

Ok, had to leave an answer when I saw a bit of confusion about the legumes. Legumes are members of a specific plant family (Fabaceae). It does not include all vegetables grown under the ground. Think of your beans, peas and peanuts – these are legumes. Onions and potatoes are not. And beans and peas grow above the ground, anyways.

Generally, fruits are the reproductive parts of the plants (think seeds), and vegetables are other parts. Potatoes and lettuce are vegetables – tubers and leaves. Onions are a bulb. Celery are stems. Carrots are roots.

Tomatoes are fruits ( a berry, to be exact, and it’s funny…most fruits we call berries..aren’t). So are peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, etc.

Anyways, besides the possibility of hearts of palm, I can’t really think of any vegetable we use that grows on a tree.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther