This is the starting page for many tropical fruits. But what is a fruit? And what makes it tropical
What do we mean by the term ‘fruit’?
The term fruit can have different meanings. In botanical biology a fruit is the ripened ovary of a flowering plant, which contains the seeds. Plants use fruits to disseminate their seeds. But when we talk about fruits as food, we limit ourselves to those fruits that are sweet and fleshy. Mango, apple, cherries, and oranges are always considered fruits, they are botanically fruits, but at the same time they are also culinary fruits. But beans and cucumbers are fruits only in a botanical sense; as food we call them vegetables and not fruits. But the difference between vegetables and fruits is sometimes also rather confusing: some fruits, such as tomato and avocado, can be considered a culinary fruit but they are at the same time eaten as a vegetable.
What makes a fruit tropical?
Strictly speaking the word tropical refers to the tropics, which is the area of earth centered on the equator and limited in the North by the Tropic of Cancer and in the south by the Tropic of Capricorn. This tropical zone stretches from 23.4 º North latitude to 23.4 º South latitude. I have divided my website in a part with ‘tropical fruits’ and a part with ‘other fruits’. Tropical fruits are those that have their origin in the tropics and require a rather tropical or subtropical climate; they don't tolerate frost. Other fruits are the rest, which usually grow in more temperate climates. The distinction is not very accurate. Some tropical fruits are also grown in warmer areas outside the tropics, while many of the temperate fruits can also be found in the tropics, especially in cooler mountain or hill areas.
There are hundreds of edible tropical fruits. Some of these are well-known and are exported all around the world. Others are only known and appreciated locally. For each fruit there is a separate page with an introduction, some basic information, a number of photos, and sometimes one or more recipes (fruit salads and other culinary experiments). Most fruits on my website are culinary fruits, but also some others (e.g. coffee) have been included in the list.
As most of the fruits are not related to each other, they are presented here below in a random order.
Follow the links or click on the photographs below to learn more about these tropical fruits.
How do you eat these tropical fruits? If you have a special recipe you would like to share with me, please send me a message. Or perhaps you know interesting proverbs about some of these fruits?
Note: All these tropical fruits and many other crops can now also be found in the World Crops Database.