Botanical Nerd Word: Achene

Close up of sunflower seeds in a small pile

Achene: A small, dry, indehiscent fruit with a single locule and a single seed (ovule), and with the seed attached to the ovary wall at a single point, as in the sunflower.*

Each of the individual ‘seeds’ of the sunflower is actually an entire fruit called an achene with a seed inside. Strawberries also produce achenes. Every ‘berry’ is actually composed of dozens of tiny fruits (the ‘seeds’) all embedded in the juicy, edible receptacle.

Want to discover more about seeds? See you at Seedy Saturday this weekend!

*Harris, J.G., Harris, M.W. (2001). Plant identification terminology: An illustrated glossary (2nd ed.). Spring Lake: Spring Lake Publishing.