What's the Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables?

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What is the difference between fruits and vegetables?

Tamara Troup:

Short answer: A fruit is the mature seed-bearing ovary part of a plant and a vegetable is the edible parts of plants that are not classified contrary. A fruit can be a vegetable, but a vegetable cannot be a fruit. Fruit is one of many scientific terms for an edible plant part, but vegetable is not a scientific term and is rooted instead in culinary and cultural tradition.

There are also some applicable answers here, but, of course, any good exposition is far lengthier than a Quora forum would allow.

Determination of plant part classification is based on three primary factors:

  • Biological: biologists focus on the molecular and structural aspects of plants to determine fruit and plant part status.
  • Cultural/Traditional: Methods of preparation and traditional use determine classification as vegetable or fruit.
  • Legal: Tax status historically has determined legal definitions of fruits and vegetables. The oft-cited case of the tomato's designation as a fruit is due to a legal precedent set by the Supreme Court that prevented the imposition of import duties on vegetables but not fruits. Likewise, the rhubarb has been subject to legal scrutiny because of its culinary use (this actually resulted in the rhubarb's legal classification as a fruit and a reduction in taxes).

The following classifications of fruits and vegetables are used:

Fruits list (click here for a more comprehensive listing of types and examples of fruit):

  • Fleshy Simple Fruit (ex. grapes, bananas, tomatoes)
  • Dry Dehiscent Simple Fruit (ex. peanuts, beans, peas)
  • Dry Indehiscent Simple Fruit with thin pericarp (ex. sunflower, corn, wheat, rice)
  • Dry Indehiscent Simple Fruit with hard pericarp (ex. beech nut, hazel nut, acorn)
  • Accessory Fruits (ex. apples, hips, strawberries)
  • Dry Accessory Fruits (ex. walnuts)
  • Aggregate Fruits (ex. raspberry)
  • Multiple Fruits (ex. mulberry, pineapple)

Vegetable Parts list (from Wikipedia "the term vegetable is not scientific, and its meaning is largely based on culinary and cultural  traditions"):

  • Buds (ex. capers)
  • Bulbs (ex. onions and garlic)
  • Flower Buds (ex. broccoli and cauliflower)
  • Fruits (cultivated as vegetables ex. pumpkins, squash, etc.)
  • Leaf, Leaf Sheath, Shoots, and Stem (ex. collards, ramps, asparagus, and celery)
  • Root & Tuber (ex. carrot and potato)
  • Seeds (ex. corn)
  • Sprouts (ex. mung bean sprouts)

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

What Is the Shelf Life of Donated Eyes?

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iStock.com/Pedro_Turrini

Zoe-Anne Barcellos:

I can only answer for cornea and eye donation.

The FDA does all oversight (no pun intended) of organ disposition.

The main organs—heart, liver, pancreas, lungs, etc.—are transplanted within hours. They are just not viable if they are not being perfused constantly.

The other tissues—like bone, skin, tendons, etc.—do not need to be transplanted immediately. But I am not sure on the regulations of when they need to be transplanted.

With the eyes, there are four tissues that can be recovered.

We recover whole eyes for research and education purposes. These usually go much faster, but we can hold them up to a year.

Conjunctiva can also be recovered; conjunctiva is a clear covering over most of the eye (it is what gets irritated when you have pink eye). I have been working as a recovery tech for five years, and our office has not had a request for "conj" in all that time. I believe it is mostly used for research, but I could be wrong.

Sclera is the white area of your eye. It is fairly thick and flexible. If you have ever touched a reptile egg, that is what it reminds me of. We recover sclera for transplant. They use it for several things, but mainly to patch punctures. Similar to if you pop the inner tube of your bike and repair it. Sclera can also be used to repair ear drums. We can hold on to this for up to a year.

The main thing we recover is corneas. In the U.S., we must transplant these within seven days of recovery. (Recovery is usually within hours of death, but we can push it up to 20 hours after if needed.) Sometimes we have more corneas than we need, and then they are shipped overseas and transplanted up to 14 days after recovery. There is no real different outcome with the later transplant time, but the FDA in the U.S. made the rules. (You can sign up to be an organ, tissue, and eye donor here.)

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

Why Are There No Snakes in Ireland?

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Legend tells of St. Patrick using the power of his faith to drive all of Ireland’s snakes into the sea. It’s an impressive image, but there’s no way it could have happened.

There never were any snakes in Ireland, partly for the same reason that there are no snakes in Hawaii, Iceland, New Zealand, Greenland, or Antarctica: the Emerald Isle is, well, an island.

Eightofnine via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Once upon a time, Ireland was connected to a larger landmass. But that time was an ice age that kept the land far too chilly for cold-blooded reptiles. As the ice age ended around 10,000 years ago, glaciers melted, pouring even more cold water into the now-impassable expanse between Ireland and its neighbors.

Other animals, like wild boars, lynx, and brown bears, managed to make it across—as did a single reptile: the common lizard. Snakes, however, missed their chance.

The country’s serpent-free reputation has, somewhat perversely, turned snake ownership into a status symbol. There have been numerous reports of large pet snakes escaping or being released. As of yet, no species has managed to take hold in the wild—a small miracle in itself.

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