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Some fruits such as pumpkins can grow to be 100 lbs. Under different conditions, the same variety of pumpkin can produce a 15 lb. fruit. Both plants are healthy, and look the same except for their size difference. If I took two red apple trees and planted them in extreme opposite conditions, the fruit size would be nearly the same. The fruit quantity would be lowered in the tree grown under poor conditions. Why do fruits have such a variable range of acceptable sizes?

{ asked by jmusser }

ANSWER

Pumpkins, squashes in general, grow on vines, while apples grow on trees. Vines are fast growing and trees are not. Zucchini can be quite large; cucumbers, too. Pears, plums, peaches and other tree fruits do have a reduced variation in fruit size. While I do not know the answer to your question, my background in plant biology tells me that this is an important part of the reason. For example, a watermelon or pumpkin rests on the earth, but a tree fruit hangs. If that fruit is too heavy it falls from the ground before it is ripe - before the seeds are fully differentiated that is. So, while "evolution" might be an answer, it is important to discuss what aspects are at play.

I think it has to do with vine vs tree, and how the fruit is attached and hangs/lays.

{ answered by Larry_Parnell }
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