Multiple fruits, also called collective fruits, are fruiting bodies formed from a cluster of fruiting flowers, the inflorescence. Each flower in the inflorescence produces a fruit, but these mature into a single mass in which each flower has produced a true fruit. After flowering the mass is called an infructescence. Examples are the fig, pineapple, mulberry, osage-orange, and breadfruit.
As shown in the photograph of the noni on the right, stages of flowering and fruit development in the noni or Indian mulberry (Morinda citrifolia) can be observed on a single branch. First an inflorescence of white flowers called a head is produced. After fertilization, each flower develops into a drupe, and as the drupes expand, they become connate (merge) into a multiple fleshy fruit called a syncarp. There are also many dry multiple fruits.
Other examples of multiple fruits:
- Plane tree, multiple achenes from multiple flowers, in a single fruit structure
- Mulberry, multiple flowers form one fruit
- Jackfruit, multiple flowers form one fruit
- Fig, multiple flowers similar to mulberry infructescence form a multiple fruit inside the inverted inflorescence. This form is called a Syconium.
- Schlegel (2003-05-13). Encyclopedic Dictionary of Plant Breeding and Related Subjects. p. 282. ISBN 9781560229506.
- Hickey, M.; King, C. (2001). The Cambridge Illustrated Glossary of Botanical Terms. Cambridge University Press.
- Beentje, H.; Williamson, J. (2010). The Kew Plant Glossary: an Illustrated Dictionary of Plant Terms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Kew Publishing.
- Spjut, R.; Thieret, J. (1989). "Confusion between multiple and aggregate fruits". The Botanical Review. 55 (1): 53–72. doi:10.1007/bf02868781.