Multiple fruits, also called collective fruits, are fruits that are formed from a cluster of flowers (called an inflorescence). Each flower in the inflorescence produces a fruit, but these mature into a single mass. Examples are the fig, pineapple, mulberry, osage-orange, and breadfruit.
In the photograph on the left, 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:
- Platanus, multiple achenes from multiple flowers, in a single fruit structure
- Mulberry, multiple flowers form one fruit
- Common Fig, multiple flowers form one fruit (inside the fruit)
- 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.
- Schlegel. Encyclopedic Dictionary. p. 282.
- Spjut, R.; Thieret, J. (1989). "Confusion between multiple and aggregate fruits". The Botanical Review 55 (1): 53–72. doi:10.1007/bf02868781.