AskDefine | Define caryopsis

Dictionary Definition

caryopsis n : dry seedlike fruit produced by the cereal grasses: e.g. wheat, barley, Indian corn [syn: grain] [also: caryopsides (pl), caryopses (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A type of fruit in which the fruit skin is stuck to the seed coat; especially the grain of a cereal.


  • Italian: cariosside

Extensive Definition

In botany, a caryopsis is a type of simple dry fruit — one that is monocarpelate (formed from a single carpel) and indehiscent (not opening at maturity) and resembles an achene, except that in a caryopsis the pericarp is fused with the thin seed coat.
The caryopsis is popularly called a grain and is the fruit typical of the family Poaceae (or Gramineae), such as wheat, rice, and corn.
The term grain is also used in a more general sense as synonymous with cereal (as in "cereal grains", which include some non-Gramineae). Considering that the fruit wall and the seed are intimately fused into a single unit, and the caryopsis or grain is a dry fruit, little concern is given to technically separating the terms "fruit" and "seed" in these plant structures. In many grains, the "hulls" to be separated before processing are actually flower bracts.
caryopsis in Catalan: Cariopsi
caryopsis in Czech: Obilka
caryopsis in German: Karyopse
caryopsis in Spanish: Cariópside
caryopsis in Esperanto: Kariopso
caryopsis in French: Caryopse
caryopsis in Ido: Kariopso
caryopsis in Italian: Cariosside
caryopsis in Dutch: Graanvrucht
caryopsis in Japanese: 穎果
caryopsis in Polish: Ziarniak
caryopsis in Portuguese: Cariopse
caryopsis in Finnish: Jyvä
caryopsis in Vietnamese: Quả thóc
caryopsis in Chinese: 颖果
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