How Many Types of Fruits Are There in the World?

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Although it is not known exactly how many types of fruits exist in the world, the answer numbers in the thousands. Agriculturalists constantly cultivate new varieties of fruits; for instance, at least 1,600 varieties of bananas exist.

Fruits are components of flowering plants. The purpose of fruits is to disperse the seeds of the plant. Some fruits are edible and have thrived as they moved with humans and animals, providing nutrition for people and seed dispersal for plants. Fruits make up a significant portion of global agricultural production. Commonly eaten fruits in the United States include apples, citrus, bananas, berries, pears, grapes and plums.

Seedlessness is an important trait for many fruits that are significant to global trade. Seedless fruits include bananas, pineapples, some oranges and grapefruits, some grapes, and some varieties of watermelon. Many fruits are made into marmalades and jams. Some are also used in processed foods including cookies, cakes, and ice cream. A significant amount of fruit is used to make beverages, including fruit juices and wine.

The total number of plant species in the world is estimated at 390,900 by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Approximately 1,000 to 2,000 species of plants are edible by humans. About 100 to 200 species of plants play an important role in world commerce, and about 15 species provide the majority of food crops. These include soybeans, peanuts, rice, wheat and bananas.