Definition - What does Pericarp mean?

The pericarp develops from a plant’s ovary. It forms around the seeds. On fruit, the pericarp is the edible tissue that develops around the seeds.

Depending on the fruit, only some layers of the pericarp is consumed. An example of a fruit that only boasts a portion of the pericarp as edible is citrus fruit. There are three distinct layers to the pericarp: the epicarp, the mesocarp, and the endocarp.

MaximumYield explains Pericarp

The pericarp is composed of three layers. The epicarp is the inner layer. In some fruits, the epicarp develops into a hard pit. The mesocarp is the middle layer. It forms the juicy flesh of many fruits. The endocarp is the outer layer. It usually develops into the skin of the fruit.

Each layer of the pericarp serves a purpose in protecting and dispersing the fruit’s seeds. Some plants such as beans and sunflowers do not have the fleshy mesocarp layer in their pericarp. These are considered dry fruit and they typically dry out and pop open to disperse their seeds. However, some dry fruits that do not have a mesocarp layer, such as carrots and acorns, do not pop open to disperse their seeds.

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