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What is a good method for fruit identification?

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Quick Answer

A plant identification book can be used to determine the species of many fruits. In some cases, it is advised to contact a trained botanist or other local professional for help identifying fruits.

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If the fruit is found growing in a wooded area rather than a managed garden, check nearby trees, bushes and vines to determine which tree or plant produced the fruit. Because some edible fruits resemble toxic fruits, do not eat or excessively handle anything that has not been verified by an expert. Wear gloves and take a portion of the plant, including a small branch with leaves, to a local botanist or other trained expert. Botany gardens can determine the exact species of the plant.

A book that focuses on plant identification can be useful when collecting specimens in forests and other unmanaged areas. To properly identify the fruit, locate the plant that the specimen came from and check the leaf patterns, size of the plant and any distinguishing features. For instance, passion fruit vines feature unique purple flowers that allow the plant to be identified easily, while persimmon trees may feature heavily weighed down branches at the height of the growing season. Seeds can be used to positively identify most edible fruits. The persimmon, for example, has seeds with an appearance that is similar to a knife, fork and spoon. Wear gloves and cut the fruit open to locate the seeds.

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