Botanical Nerd Word: Schizocarp

A botanical illustration of the fennel plant and an image of fennel seeds.

Schizocarp: A dry fruit which splits into separate one-seeded segments (carpels) at maturity.*

The image shows the various stages of development of fennel from flowers through to seeds. What is commonly referred to as a fennel ‘seed’ is actually a tiny, dry fruit containing 2 even tinier seeds. This fruit type is typical of all the carrot family plants (Apiaceae).

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