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16 Facts About Fruit That'll Make You Say "Nature Is Weird"

Almost all fruit as we know it is either a clone or a hybrid.

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1. The colour was named after the fruit, not the other way around.

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Before the invention of the word "orange", orange things were described as "saffron" or red, which explains why we refer to "redheads" as such instead of "orangeheads", which would arguably be more accurate.

2. Speaking of oranges, they actually don't exist in the wild, and are a cross between pomelo and mandarins.

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In fact, most of your most beloved citrus fruits are actually hybrids of the only three citrus fruits that occur naturally in the wild; pomelo, mandarins, and citron.

4. You can use banana fibre to make paper and fabrics.

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A fabric made of banana fibres called "bashofu" has been made in Japan for centuries. It's entirely biodegradable and a much more sustainable fabric in comparison to cotton or silk as much less energy and water is required to produce it. The fibres are taken from the trees and woven together to create the unique cloth.


5. Tomatoes are the most popular fruit in the world.

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I know, it makes me feel angry and weird too, but it also makes sense. Tomatoes are a fruit, botanically at least, and how often do you cook a meal without adding a tin of chopped tomatoes?? 60 million tonnes of tomatoes are produced every year, which is 16 million more than the second most popular fruit, the banana.

6. Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive.

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This is because the potassium they contain is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope. Don't worry though, the amount of radiation exposure you get from eating a banana is about 1% of the average daily radiation exposure, and you'd need to eat 100,000,000 bananas in a short period of time to get a lethal dose.

7. Bananas as we know them today are the result of thousands of years of human cultivation; most wild bananas are inedible.

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There are two breeds of wild bananas, the one you see above is inedible due to the seeds inside, and both breeds are very small. Through thousands of years of crossbreeding and cultivation, humans managed to create the bananas we have today.


9. Originally, the word "pineapple" was used to refer to what we now know as pinecones. When Europeans first came across the fruit in the Americas, they names them "pineapples" because they looked like pinecones.

12. A Hawaiian myth states that breadfruit grows from the testes of a dead man. It was delicious, but the legend goes that when people learn what it grew from, they threw it up and spread its seeds across the islands.

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Say what you will, but it's surely an effective propagation strategy.


13. If you grow an apple tree from a seed, it might not even bear fruit, and if does, they will be nothing like the apple from which you got the seeds.

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Apples are genetic hybrids and produce new genetic information onto their seedlings, which is why an apple's seeds will not produce fruit similar to its parent. Most apple trees are created using grafting (taking a cutting from an existing tree and letting it grow roots and into another tree), so essentially all commercial apples are clones as opposed to siblings.

14. And every single Granny Smith apple is a clone from a single apple tree in Australia.

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Granny Smith was a real person who created the new hybrid apple we now know and love, and every single Granny Smith apple tree that exists is a clone of her original tree in Sydney.

15. Cherry farmers hire helicopters to fly over their cherry trees after rain.

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After cherry fruits form and ripen, rainwater can pool in the little indents at the top of the fruits. The cherries will then absorb that excess water which can make them split, crack, or burst. Obviously cherry farmers don't want to lose any of their crop, so they hire (or even buy their own) helicopters to fly over the top of them and blow off the excess water from the cherry trees after any rainfall.

16. Finally, some people do not consider figs to be vegan as often the fruit digests wasps.

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The fig wasp reproduces by laying eggs in the inward-facing fig flower. She will then dutifully lay down and die inside the flower, and the eggs will hatch, the males will then breed with the females, and chew a hole in the flower, through which the females will escape (as the males have no wings). Usually, the flowers in which the wasps lay their eggs do not develop into the fruits we eat. Occasionally, though, the wasp will lay her eggs in the wrong kind of flower, where she can't lay her eggs or escape from, so is eventually digested by the enzymes as the flower turns into the fruit you lovingly place into your morning porridge.