Schmid, Rudolf Department of Botany, University of California, Berkeley, California.
- Functional aspects
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A matured carpel or group of carpels (the basic units of the gynoecium or female part of the flower) with or without seeds, and with or without other floral or shoot parts (accessory structures) united to the carpel or carpels. Carpology is the study of the morphology and anatomy of fruits. The ovary develops into a fruit after fertilization and usually contains one or more seeds, which have developed from the fertilized ovules. Parthenocarpic fruits usually lack seeds. Fruitlets are the small fruits or subunits of aggregate or multiple fruits. Flowers, carpels, ovaries, and fruits are, by definition, restricted to the flowering plants (angiosperms), although fruitlike structures may enclose seeds in certain other groups of seed plants. The fruit is of ecological significance because of seed dispersal. See also: Flower; Seed
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