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Who Knew?

Posted on July 14th, 2005

The context: Unable to study at home (which is nothing new), I decide to make a trip to SPUC (which happens to be one of my best study spots) before my Laurier class to get some work on ECON done before tomorrow’s midterm. I spot John, Keith, Rodney, and crew at the dinner table and join them for a bit. Exit Rodney, enter Laura. Enter someone else (I forget). Laura notes that said newcomer had peas, to which I respond by quite randomly asking her what her favourite vegetable is.


“That’s a fruit, isn’t it?” I ask.

From there, we briefly discuss why it would be classified a fruit and why other seedy things (cucumbers, squash, etc.) are considered vegetables. We arrive at no real conclusion.

The result (from

“Botanically speaking, the tomato you eat is a fruit. So is a watermelon, green pepper, eggplant, cucumber, and squash. A “fruit” is any fleshy material covering a seed or seeds.

Horticulturally speaking, the tomato is a vegetable plant. The plant is an annual and nonwoody. Most fruits, from a horticulture perspective, are grown on a woody plant (apples, cherries, raspberries, oranges) with the exception of strawberries.

In 1893, the United States Supreme Court ruled the tomato was a “vegetable” and therefore subject to import taxes. The suit was brought by a consortium of growers who wanted it declared a vegetable to protect U.S. crop development and prices. Fruits, at that time, were not subjected to import taxes and foreign countries could flood the market with lower priced produce.”

So, thanks to common parlance, we have been incorrectly categorizing things like eggplant, beans, peas, cucumbers, and peppers.

And who says we don’t learn something new every day?

One Response to “Who Knew?”

  1. Tony Says:

    Don’t you love it when legislators decide to run roughshod over scientists in the name of guardian values like protectionism?

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