What Is Pomology?

Pomology is a branch of horticulture that focuses on the cultivation of edible fruit and nut crops, especially tree-grown crops. A specialist in pomology is known as a pomologist. The word originates from the Latin word "pomum," meaning "apple or fruit," and the suffix "-ology," meaning "science or study."

Horticulture is divided into the study and cultivation of edible plants and ornamental plants. Edible plant cultivation is divided into pomology (fruits and nuts) and olericulture (vegetables and herbs). Edible mushrooms are in a separate category, as they are fungi and not plants. The study of edible and inedible mushrooms is called mycology. Ornamental horticulture is divided into floriculture (flowers and small plants) and landscape horticulture (grass, trees, shrubs and vines).

It may seem confusing to group fruits and nuts together, but from a botanical point of view, nuts are considered a kind of fruit, defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as "the fleshy or dry ripened ovary that surrounds the seed of a plant." As well as focusing on the science and practice of growing fruits and nuts, pomologists are concerned with the development of new fruit and nut varieties.

The American Pomological Society is the oldest pomology organization in North America, and was established in 1848.