Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?


Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?


There are different ways to classify or categorize plants and plant structures.  Botanically, the typical plant has roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit.  The root is the edible portion of carrots, radishes, beets, and parsnips.  Plants grown for their edible leaves include lettuce and spinach.  Edible fruit include tomatoes, peppers, melons, snap beans, apples, pears and many others. 

In common usage, a vegetable is defined as a plant eaten with the principal part of the meal.  In contrast, a fruit is a plant part which is used chiefly in desserts.  Therefore, snap beans, carrots, and spinach are vegetables, while apples are fruit.  Botanically, the edible tomato is a fruit. In common usage, the tomato is a vegetable in that it is usually consumed during the main meal.  Therefore, the tomato is both a fruit and a vegetable.