Flower plants produce their offspring through seeds encased in fruit. Once the ovary of the plant is pollinated, it matures and forms the fruit, protecting the developing seeds known as the pericarp. Certain plants produce higher or lower amounts of seeds in their fruit, depending upon the complexity and level of nutrients required for the seed to successfully germinate.
Berries produce seeds that are enmeshed inside the flesh of the fruit. Grapes, tomatoes, and oranges are all examples of berries. Some berries will produce a single seed such as a cherry, whereas others will produce multiple seeds within the single berry, such as a tomato. For those plants in nature, the berries are able to drop from their trees and vines and nourish the seeds as they begin to develop.
Peaches, plums, cherries and apricots are all drupes. Drupes develop a single seed, or pit, with a shell encasing, thus providing an added layer of protection for the seed. Unlike berries, drupes require long periods of dormancy before the germination process can occur, ensuring the seed's ability to determine optimal growing temperatures and a maximized first growing season.
Pomes are produced by members of the rose family. Examples of pomes include apples, pears and loquats. Pomes' seeds have extremely hard, thick seed coverings that must be broken down before a seed is able to germinate. In nature, the seed coat is broken down through the wintering process. In pomes, the ovary of the fruit is typically not eaten by humans due to its hard texture.
Forming into long, pod-like fruit, legumes are a form of dry fruit that produces enclosed seeds. Examples of legumes include carob, beans, and alfalfa. Legumes form their pods in a modified leaf that it infuses at both ends. When the seeds are ready to germinate, they pod breaks apart at the seams, releasing the seeds.