What Is That Thing Stuck To My Orange/Avocado?
December 9, 2009 8:19 AM   Subscribe

What do you call the dried stem-stump stuck to an orange/lemon/avocado?

A coworker called it a "pip" but I said that term referred to the seeds. Wikipedia says that "pip" means any small, countable object and gives the spots on dice as an example. So theoretically, I guess "pip" works. But I think there must be an official name and there's clearly already variation in popular terminology1.

I'm looking for what you personally call them (and maybe what region you are in?) and what The Botanical Term is.

1Actually, I don't call them anything other than "dammit get off there so I can cut through the fruit".
posted by DU to Science & Nature (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Isn't the bit of stem called the stem?
posted by foodgeek at 8:21 AM on December 9, 2009

I'd just call it the stem as well. Pip is definitely the seed(s).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:27 AM on December 9, 2009

I always referred to it as "the part where the plant stopped living for itself and lived for the fruit", but it's probably the "axillary".
posted by Burhanistan at 8:32 AM on December 9, 2009

Just realized that pickers/packers may also have an industry term.

The reason I suspect there's a botanical name is that it has a special function or at least special behavior. It doesn't stick with the stem, it sticks with the fruit.
posted by DU at 8:32 AM on December 9, 2009

blossom end
posted by sanko at 8:40 AM on December 9, 2009

You might also be able to call it a pedicel on many fruits.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:42 AM on December 9, 2009

Ah yes, I think "pedicel" must be it. See figure 12c in this 1942 paper on the anatomy of avocados.
posted by DU at 8:51 AM on December 9, 2009

I think of it as the fruit's bellybutton. But if I'm talking out loud, I usually call it the "stem bit."
posted by nickmark at 9:57 AM on December 9, 2009

Pip is definitely not correct. Pedicel is in some cases* where the connection is to a single ovary (fruit), but in other cases what we call the fruit is actually several ovaries attached to a peduncle. Axil or axillary refers to the connection between leaf stems ("petioles") and branches. Petioles and peduncles or pedicels have different functions and structures. Really, you can't go wrong with plain old "stem". :-)

*The stem of a fig fruit is correctly called a "peduncle", and in fact, the whole "fruit" (it is not really a true fruit, it is a synconia, which is a type of flower cluster) is made up of modified peduncular tissue. Inside the fig are male and female flowers. All the tiny flowers are attached to the inside of the peduncle with pedicels. so when a "fruit" consists of multiple flowers with multiple ovaries ( an inflorescence), the proper term for the stem is peduncle. So strawberries, raspberries and other compound fruit have peduncles. Apples, pears, and quince have peduncles (they have a multi-part ovary).
posted by oneirodynia at 11:59 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

An avocado is pretty clearly a single ovary, since there's only one seed. But what about oranges?
posted by DU at 5:16 PM on December 9, 2009

In some regions it's refered to as a stob.
posted by X4ster at 6:06 PM on December 9, 2009

blossom end

That's the other end, the part that was the flower.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:37 PM on December 9, 2009

An avocado is pretty clearly a single ovary, since there's only one seed. But what about oranges?

I would call it a peduncle. You find that there's no 100% clear consensus among botanists though; there are academic papers that use either term for nearly all fruits, though most of the time peduncle is used. It's never entirely clear cut because while peduncle is used for solitary flowers and pedicel for inflorescences, plants can have a habit of producing flowers/fruit in both configurations. You'll see in botanical descriptions "flowers solitary or in clusters (racemes, bundles, &c.)" So the use of the term in that case depends on the botanist.

If the inflorescence clearly has pedicels attaching the flowers to a peduncle (as in avocado or mango), people will tend to use pedicel. If a single stem supports multiple flowers that make up a single fruit (fig, blackberry, strawberry) peduncle is used.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:59 PM on December 10, 2009

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