caryopsis
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In
botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek wo ...

botany
, a caryopsis (plural caryopses) is a type of simple
fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants that is formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) disseminate their seeds. Edible fruits in particul ...

fruit
—one that is monocarpellate (formed from a single
carpel Gynoecium (; ) is most commonly used as a collective term for the parts of a flower that produce ovules and ultimately develop into the fruit and seeds. The gynoecium is the innermost whorl (botany), whorl of a flower; it consists of (one or m ...
) and
indehiscent Dehiscence is the splitting of a mature plant structure along a built-in line of weakness to release its contents. This is common among fruits, anthers and sporangia. Sometimes this involves the complete detachment of a part; structures that op ...
(not opening at maturity) and resembles an
achene An achene (; ), also sometimes called akene and occasionally achenium or achenocarp, is a type of simple dry fruit produced by many species of flowering plants. Achenes are monocarpellate (formed from one carpel) and Dehiscence (botany), indehis ...

achene
, except that in a caryopsis the
pericarp Fruit anatomy is the plant anatomy of the internal structure of fruit. Fruits are the mature ovary (plants), ovary or ovaries of one or more flowers. They are found in three main anatomical categories: aggregate fruits, multiple fruits, and simp ...
is fused with the thin
seed coat A seed is an embryonic plant Plants are predominantly Photosynthesis, photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant kingdom encompassed all living things that were not animals, and include ...
. The caryopsis is popularly called a
grain A grain is a small, hard, dry fruit (caryopsis) – with or without an attached husk, hull layer – harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-producing plant. The two main types of commercial grain crops are cereals and l ...

grain
and is the fruit typical of the family
Poaceae Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous Family (biology), family of monocotyledonous flowering plants commonly known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboos and the grasses of natural grassland and species culti ...

Poaceae
(or Gramineae), which includes
wheat Wheat is a Poaceae, grass widely Agriculture, cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain that is a worldwide staple food. The Taxonomy of wheat, many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum'' ; the most widely grown is common wheat ...

wheat
,
rice Rice is the seed of the Poaceae, grass species ''Oryza sativa'' (Asian rice) or less commonly ''Oryza glaberrima'' (African rice). The name wild rice is usually used for species of the genera ''Zizania (genus), Zizania'' and ''Porteresia'', bo ...

rice
, and
corn Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn ( North American and Australian English Australian English (AusE, AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties ...

corn
. The term ''grain'' is also used in a more general sense as synonymous with
cereal A cereal is any Poaceae, grass cultivated for the edible components of its grain (botanically, a type of fruit called a caryopsis), composed of the endosperm, Cereal germ, germ, and bran. Cereal Grain, grain crops are grown in greater quantit ...

cereal
(as in "cereal grains", which include some non-Poaceae). Considering that the fruit wall and the seed are intimately fused into a single unit, and the caryopsis or grain is a dry fruit, little concern is given to technically separating the terms ''fruit'' and ''seed'' in these plant structures. In many grains, the " hulls" to be separated before processing are flower
bract In botany, a bract is a modified or specialized leaf, especially one associated with a reproductive structure such as a flower, inflorescence axis or cone scale. Bracts are usually different from foliage leaves. They may be smaller, larger, or of ...

bract
s.


Etymology

The name "caryopsis" is derived from the Greek words ''karyon'' and ''-opsis'', meaning "nut" and "having the appearance of", respectively. The term was first used by
Achille Richard Achille Richard was a French botanist, botanical illustrator and physician (27 April 1794 in Paris – 5 October 1852). Biography Achille was the son of the botanist Louis Claude Richard, Louis-Claude Marie Richard (1754–1821). He was a ph ...
to refer to the dry, monospermic, indehiscent fruit commonly found in grasses. This definition of fruit for the Gramineae family has persisted to the modern day, but some botanists have challenged the idea that the dry caryopsis is a defining characteristic of the family. The other forms of fruit proposed to be borne by grasses include
achene An achene (; ), also sometimes called akene and occasionally achenium or achenocarp, is a type of simple dry fruit produced by many species of flowering plants. Achenes are monocarpellate (formed from one carpel) and Dehiscence (botany), indehis ...

achene
s, utricles,
berries A berry is a small, pulpy, and often edible fruit. Typically, berries are juicy, rounded, brightly colored, sweet, sour or tart, and do not have a stone or pit, although many pips or seeds may be present. Common examples are strawberries, raspb ...

berries
, and nuts. However, others have suggested that these differing fruit structures are representative of caryopsis diversity rather than of entirely different structures. This diverse form of the caryopsis would include the follicle-like form of ''
Crypsis In ecology, crypsis is the ability of an animal or a plant to avoid observation or detection by other animals. It may be a aggressive mimicry, predation strategy or an antipredator adaptation. Methods include camouflage, nocturnality, wiktionar ...
'' and '' Eleusine'' where a free pericarp adjoins the seeds which are extruded when moistened (as in an achene or utricle), the berry-like form found in some bamboo genera including '' Dinochloa'' and '' Olmeca'' where the pericarp is more thick and fleshy, and the nut-like form found in '' Dendrocalamus'' and '' Schizostachyum''. By this definition, the caryopsis is truly the only fruit type found in the Gramineae. The types of caryopsis are often distinguished by the terms "modified caryopsis", referring to caryopses with a pericarp not wholly adnate to the seed coat, and "true caryopsis", referring to those with a pericarp totally adherent to the seed coat.


References

{{Authority control Fruit morphology