We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Achene?

Michael Pollick
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Many people may think they have eaten strawberry seeds, munched on sunflower seeds in the shell or spread dandelion seeds with a puff of air. Botanically speaking, however, all of those plants bear a dry fruit known as an achene, which is different from a seed or nut. Other plants commonly found in home gardens also produce an achene: Daisies, dahlias, zinnias, coreopsises, and buttercups, among others. Certain hardwood trees such as elm and maple also produce winged achenes which spin in the air as they fall, but botanists would also call these helicoptering seed packets samsaras.

An achene is considered a dry fruit which does not bloom or release its seed upon maturity. Instead, the seed resides inside a husk or shell until it reaches suitable ground and germinates into a new plant. The seed itself does not bond with the outer husk or shell, which separates it botanically from a traditional seed or nut. An acorn's inner seed does bond with its outer shell, for example, but the center of an elm tree's achene or samsara can be easily peeled away from its casing.

Another example of an achene can be found in sunflower seeds. The seed of a sunflower is actually contained within the kernel most people would consider to be a sunflower "seed." The sunflower achene is protected by a papery husk and a hardened shell, which all becomes embedded in the ground after release from the main flower. Eventually the sunflower seed germinates and establishes its own root system. The hard shell protects the achene from the elements and predators until this germination takes place. Birds may carry off or digest an achene fruit, but this is generally considered an effective way for plants to propagate in the wild. The seed itself is protected and nourished by the plant's achene and shell, then distributed after it passes through an animal's digestive system or is carried off by the wind.

The troublesome but plentiful flowering plant known as the dandelion relies on wind power to distribute its own achene. The actual seed of a dandelion is encased in a small, dry achene fruit. The achene is attached to a parachute-like bloom which pulls the achene away from the dandelion's central core and carries it away to another location for self-germination. Because each dandelion flower can produce dozens of flying achenes, successful dandelion eradication from a yard or garden can be extremely difficult. Dandelion achenes carried on a strong breeze can easily replace any predecessors destroyed with insecticides or other methods.

Perhaps no other fruit or berry is as confusing botanically as the common strawberry. What most people would consider a strawberry's seed is actually an achene surrounding an extremely small seed. These achenes, which can be seen by the hundreds on a typical strawberry, are actually considered the real fruit of the strawberry plant. The spongy, sweet red flesh which surrounds these achenes is actually a "false fruit," a component of the plant designed to attract birds and other natural consumers through sight, smell and taste. Once the animals have consumed the berries, the achenes travel through their digestive systems and are eventually deposited in a new location, hopefully one ideal for growth.

Humans may enjoy the sweetness and texture of the false fruit of a strawberry, but what matters most to the plant's survival in the wild is the transportation of its achenes. Fortunately, modern cultivation methods do ensure that plant species which rely on the distribution of achenes for propagation or reproduction will continue to survive.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to HomeQuestionsAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to HomeQuestionsAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a...
Learn more
HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.