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Fruits vs. Vegetables: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 2, 2023
Fruits are mature ovaries of flowering plants, often sweet or sour; Vegetables are edible plant parts, like stems, leaves, or roots.

Key Differences

Fruits typically develop from the flowering part of a plant and contain seeds. They are the mature ovaries of flowering plants. Vegetables, on the other hand, encompass a broader range of plant parts consumed as food, including stems, roots, and leaves.
While Fruits are generally categorized based on botanical definitions related to plant reproduction, Vegetables are classified more based on culinary and cultural traditions.
In many culinary contexts, Fruits are often sweet or sour and used in desserts or beverages. Vegetables, however, tend to be more savory and are commonly used in main dishes or sides.
It's worth noting that some foods are botanically Fruits, like tomatoes, but are treated as Vegetables in culinary practices due to their flavor profiles.
From a nutritional standpoint, Fruits often provide a good source of vitamins, especially vitamin C and dietary fiber. Vegetables also offer vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but their nutritional profile can vary widely based on the type of vegetable.

Comparison Chart


Mature ovaries of flowering plants.
Edible plant parts including stems, roots, and leaves.


Typically sweet or sour.
More savory, can be bitter or bland.

Culinary Use

Often in desserts or beverages.
Main dishes, sides, salads.


Apples, berries, oranges.
Broccoli, carrots, spinach.

Seed Presence

Often contain seeds.
Don't typically contain seeds (except when the vegetable is a fruit).

Fruits and Vegetables Definitions


The product of something, typically used in a figurative sense.
The book was the fruit of years of research.


An edible plant or part of a plant.
She planted an assortment of vegetables in her garden.


An outcome or result of an action or effort.
The fruits of his labor were evident in the beautiful garden.


A term distinct from fruits based on culinary uses.
While peppers are fruits, many refer to them as vegetables.


Typically sweet or sour plant part used in culinary contexts.
She added various fruits to the salad for a sweet touch.


A term in culinary contexts for non-sweet plant parts.
He roasted an array of vegetables for dinner.


A term used to describe a wide variety of botanical structures.
Tomatoes are technically fruits, even though they're often seen as vegetables.


Plant parts consumed for their nutritional value.
Eating green, leafy vegetables can benefit your health.


The ripened ovary or ovaries of a seed-bearing plant, together with accessory parts, containing the seeds and occurring in a wide variety of forms.


A plant cultivated for its edible parts, such as the roots of the beet, the leaves of spinach, the flower buds of broccoli, or the fruit or seeds of certain species, as beans, corn, and squash.


An edible, usually sweet and fleshy form of such a structure.


The edible part of such a plant.


A part or an amount of such a plant product, served as food
Fruit for dessert.


A member of the vegetable kingdom, especially a green plant.


The fertile, often spore-bearing structure of a plant that does not bear seeds.


Offensive Slang One who is severely impaired mentally and physically, as by brain injury or disease.


A plant crop or product
The fruits of the earth.


Of, relating to, or derived from plants or a plant
Vegetable dyes.


Result; outcome
The fruit of their labor.


Made from or with edible plants or plant parts
Vegetable lasagna.


Offspring; progeny.


Growing or reproducing like a plant.


A fruity aroma or flavor in a wine.


Plural of vegetable


Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a gay man.


Often the main components in savory dishes.
The soup was filled with fresh vegetables.


To produce or cause to produce fruit.


Plural of fruit


The mature ovary of a flowering plant.
Berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, are types of fruits.


Can fruits be savory?

While most fruits are sweet, some, like tomatoes and avocados, have a savory profile.

What's the main botanical distinction between fruits and vegetables?

Fruits develop from flowers and usually contain seeds, while vegetables are other edible plant parts.

Are potatoes vegetables?

Yes, potatoes are tuberous vegetables derived from the plant's root.

What makes fruits different from nuts?

While both develop from flowers, fruits have a fleshy structure, whereas nuts are hard.

Why are bell peppers sometimes called vegetables?

Culinary traditions often classify foods by taste, so bell peppers are treated as vegetables despite being fruits.

Are there vegetables without seeds?

Yes, many vegetables, like lettuce or carrots, don't contain seeds.

Why are tomatoes considered fruits?

Botanically, tomatoes develop from flowers and contain seeds, classifying them as fruits.

Do all fruits come from flowering plants?

Yes, fruits are the mature ovaries of flowering plants.

Which is more nutritious, fruits or vegetables?

Both offer nutritional benefits, but the specifics vary by type and preparation.

Are there seedless fruits?

Yes, certain varieties, like seedless grapes, have been cultivated to be without seeds.

Why are some fruits treated as vegetables in cooking?

Culinary classification often depends on taste and tradition, not botanical definitions.

Why are fruits often used in desserts?

Due to their natural sweetness, fruits complement dessert dishes.

Do all fruits have to be sweet?

No, not all fruits are sweet; some are savory or even bitter.

How are fruits and vegetables essential for health?

They provide essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Do all vegetables grow above ground?

No, some vegetables, like carrots and potatoes, grow underground.

Are beans fruits or vegetables?

Botanically, beans are a type of fruit as they develop from flowers and encase seeds. However, in culinary contexts, they are often treated as vegetables.

Can the same plant produce both fruits and vegetables?

Yes, a plant like squash produces fruit (the squash) and a vegetable (the flower).

Can vegetables be used in desserts?

Yes, some vegetables, like carrots, are used in desserts such as carrot cake.

What's the main difference in culinary use between fruits and vegetables?

Fruits are often in sweet dishes, while vegetables are in savory ones.

Why are strawberries called fruits?

Despite seeds being on the outside, strawberries develop from the flower, making them fruits.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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