Week ninety-seven: TRYMA (probability 7017), by David Sutton

A TRYMA (plural TRYMATA) is a kind of nut-like fruit, as exemplified by the walnut: to put it in a strict botanical terms, 'a drupe produced by the walnut and similar plants in which the endocarp is a hard shell and the epicarp is dehiscent'. This may need unpacking a little. Endocarp means the inner layer of a fruit's pericarp or outer covering, and epicarp means the outer layer. Dehiscent means opening spontaneously to release the seeds. However, a drupe is defined in Collins as an indehiscent fruit. I think what this boils down is that in a fruit like the walnut there is an outer fibrous covering that falls off naturally and a hard woody inner covering that doesn't.

There are various other specialised botanical words for types of fruit. A SOROSIS (plural SOROSES or SOROSISES) is a fleshy fruit formed from a whole crowd of flowers, as in the pineapple. A SAMARA is a propeller-like winged fruit, as of ash, elm or maple. A REGMA (plural REGMATA) is a dry fruit formed of three or more cells which splits into dehiscent parts (breaks open) when ripe. An ACHENE (or AKENE or ACHENIUM or ACHAENIUM) is a dry indehiscent one-seeded fruit formed of one carpel, as in the buttercup. A CYPSELA (plural CYPSELAE) is the fruit of members of the daisy family. The infamous ETAERIO, probably the most played bonus word in Scrabble, is an aggregated fruit, a group of achenes or drupels.

The fruit of leguminous plants, as we all know, is called a POD, and a pod that breaks into pieces at constrictions between the seeds, as in runner beans, is a LOMENTUM (plural LOMENTA or LOMENTUMS) or LOMENT. A SILIQUA (plural SILIQUAE or SILIQUAS) or SILIQUE is a long pod of two carpels divided by a partition, as in the laburnum. A SILICLE (or SILICULA or SILICULE) is a kind of SILIQUA that is about as broad as it is long.

A XYLOCARP is a hard woody fruit, such as a coconut. A SYCONIUM (plural SYCONIA) is a form of fruit with ovaries on an enlarged receptacle, as in a fig.

That's probably quite enough botany for one week, but I'll continue the theme next week with some exotic words for particular seeds.


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