Cabbage and mustard plants are probably not your first thought when it comes to fruit.
As strange as it may seem, the seeds and seed pods of radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, mustards, and other members of the cabbage family produce long, narrow, pod-shaped fruits called silique [se-LEEK]. If you only have one, it is called a siliqua [sil-eh-KWA].
More to pods than peas
Pods are a type of fruit that can be dehiscent or indehiscent. Dehiscent means that the structure opens spontaneously when its contents are mature. If a pod does not open automatically, it is called indehiscent. In either case, pods are made up of two identical long halves and they contain seeds. Those halves are called valves. Valves are the outer walls of the ovary. The two halves are joined along a seam, called a suture. Held between those two halves is a ribbon of seed-bearing tissue called the septum.
Siliquose fruit anatomy
If allowed to bolt, or go to seed, members of the cabbage family produce long, skinny fruits, commonly referred to as seed capsules or seed pods. These pods are each made from two fused carpels. The pods of legumes, such as peas and beans, are made from a single carpel.
If a seed capsule is more than three times as long as it is wide, it is called a silique, or siliqua. If a seed capsule is less than three times longer than wide, it is called silicle or silicula.
If you allow your radishes and other Brassicas to go to seed, you will see siliquae for yourself, plus you will have seeds for next year’s crop.
Now you know.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
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