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I've been debating with my friends whether or not corn kernels are considered to be fruits or vegetables or nuts. To my knowledge, a fruit is defined as "an over ripened ovum" of a plant's seed. A vegetable is part of a plant that is eaten but not part of the seed. I was under the impression that nuts were only from a specific "branch" of plant evolution that is predominantly trees. This information would lead me to believe it is isn't any of them. Looking into it myself, I learned the word aril, but I'm not sure if corn's kernels are like that, either. It doesn't sound like it fits the criteria of that, or any of them.

Taking up from there, I'm a bit confused on what corn should be called. Do we have a name for corn like we do everything?

  • Fruit has many definitions, as does vegetable: e.g. the supermarket (legal) definition, the standard garden catalog definition, the botanical definition, and in the case of vegetable, several dictionary definitions. The answer to your question depends, but corn definitely isn't a nut, as it lacks a hard, inedible shell. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Feb 27 '19 at 8:15
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Wikipedia tells us that the kernels "are a type of fruit called a caryopsis", which is basically what the grain family (Poaceae -- grasses) produces. Corn, wheat, oats, etc are examples of this type of fruit.

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Corn kernels are seeds and the kernels is an ear. All the fruits of graminae are ears: this means "seed heads" made ​​up of many fruits (usually insignificant) growing together, precisely in an ear. When the fruits are ripe ears of generating seeds.

In wheat, rice, rye grass, they are ears spighe
(source: farmacoecura.it)

Oats are infructescenses avena
(source: agraria.org)

In corn are cobs pannocchie

There are many types of true grasse, some edible and some not. The visible ears are groups of seeds.

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  • All the fruits of grasses are ears: this means "seed heads" made ​​up of many fruits (usually insignificant) growing together, precisely in an ear. When the fruits are ripe ears of generating seeds. Sorry, google translater induces various errors, including copying from the wrong side, untranslated. I'm very sorry for this and thank you for the correction. – violadaprile Apr 23 '13 at 20:15

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