Multiple fruits, also called collective fruits, are fruiting bodies formed from a cluster of fruiting flowers, the inflorescence. Each flower in the inflorescence produces a fruit, but these mature into a single mass in which each flower has produced a true fruit. After flowering the mass is called an infructescence. Examples are the fig, pineapple, mulberry, osage-orange, and breadfruit.
In the photograph on the left, stages of flowering and fruit development in the noni or Indian mulberry (Morinda citrifolia) can be observed on a single branch. First an inflorescence of white flowers called a head is produced. After fertilization, each flower develops into a drupe, and as the drupes expand, they become connate (merge) into a multiple fleshy fruit called a syncarp. There are also many dry multiple fruits.
Other examples of multiple fruits:
- Plane tree, multiple achenes from multiple flowers, in a single fruit structure
- Mulberry, multiple flowers form one fruit
- Jackfruit, multiple flowers form one fruit
- Fig, multiple flowers similar to mulberry infructescence form a multiple fruit inside the inverted inflorescence. This form is called a Syconium.
- Schlegel (2003-05-13). Encyclopedic Dictionary of Plant Breeding and Related Subjects. p. 282. ISBN 9781560229506.
- Hickey, M.; King, C. (2001). The Cambridge Illustrated Glossary of Botanical Terms. Cambridge University Press.
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- Spjut, R.; Thieret, J. (1989). "Confusion between multiple and aggregate fruits". The Botanical Review. 55 (1): 53–72. doi:10.1007/bf02868781.