24

The term Citrus Fruit covers oranges, lemons, and grapefruits; all of which are very similar in skin & flesh.

Is there a similar term to cover apples and pears (outside of Cockney rhyming slang)?

I realise that Citrus comes from biological classification (i.e. it's the common genus of these fruits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus).

Whilst apples and pears it seems are less closely related / you have to go back to the Rosaceae family (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosaceae) for their mutual branch, which also includes anything that blossoms (roses, cherries, almonds, and more).

  • 2
    Not to my knowledge, no, which is actually quite interesting since apples and pears are notionally very closely related in my mind. Despite being different species/genera/classes, I do think of them as being particularly closely associated with one another (more so than berries, which also comprise many different species and are more diverse than apples and pears), but I have no common word for them. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 7 at 10:37
  • I wondered about "orchard fruit" though that includes peaches and cherries. – JohnLBevan Apr 7 at 10:37
  • 6
    Stairs. – sjl Apr 8 at 1:00
  • 1
    You actualy only have to go up to the [Malinae ](en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malinae) but that doesn't help much – Chris H Apr 8 at 12:42
49

Yes, they are pomes

a fruit consisting of a fleshy enlarged receptacle and a tough central core containing the seeds, e.g., an apple or pear.

Pome:Google dictionary.

  • 16
    As @DavidRicherby commented on another answer, be aware that the word "pome" (or "pomes") is not in common use. Be prepared to explain the word whenever you use it! – RJHunter Apr 8 at 2:47
  • 9
    It might be rare, but it was in a NYTimes crossword within the last couple weeks. – B. Goddard Apr 8 at 10:03
  • 1
    Google's results use Oxford BTW. – MCCCS Apr 8 at 14:03
29

The corresponding expression to citrus fruit is pomaceous fruit(s):

Thus, the apple, crab, pear, quince, medlar, and possibly others are designated as “pomaceous" fruits, each having certain specific (as contrasted with general) natural characters in common. — US Dept. of Agriculture, Agriculture Yearbook, 1926.

I could not use a Google Book NGram to check for frequency because of the massive false hits for pome, but I think I’ve seen the adjective + fruit more often than the noun pome, in contrast to drupe, which appears to be more frequent than the adjective drupaceous.

  • 12
    As a very poor substitute for Google NGrams, my experience as a British native speaker is that I've never heard the word pome or pomaceous "in the wild". They appear to be technical terms in botany and I wouldn't be at all surprised if even greengrocers didn't know them. – David Richerby Apr 7 at 18:54
  • 1
    Wouldn't be in general use, but as a gardener (who has all of that list but the medlar) I am familiar with the term, though more as just "pomes". – jamesqf Apr 8 at 3:14
  • 6
    @DavidRicherby I've come across "pome" in gardening books. You're right about greengrocers, though they can't be trusted as authorities on the English language given what they do to apostrophes. – Chris H Apr 8 at 12:44
  • 5
    @ChrisH Ah, yes. They might recognize "pomaceou's". – David Richerby Apr 8 at 12:45
  • 2
    @MontyHarder I was very tempted but resisted as I wouldn't want to cause offence (including to myself) – Chris H Apr 9 at 12:50
3

In the world of horticulture and pomology (the study of fruit), the term "pome fruit" to describe this group is common everyday language in 2019. Citrus and "stone fruit" (plums, peaches and cherries) are two other big categories of tree fruit.

  • 2
    +1 but I think it should be pointed out that outside the world of horticulture and pomology, the term "pome fruit" is basically unheard-of, whereas "citrus" is a word that everybody knows and "stone fruit" is somewhere in between. (And probably most people can figure out what a stone fruit is, though smart alecs might ask if avocados count.) – David Richerby Apr 9 at 15:51
2

Regarding whether "pome" is used other than as a technical term in botany, I can provide at least one example of its general use in the poem "Old Sir Faulk" by Edith Sitwell which describes

"An old dull mome / with a head like a pome."

The poem is part of the collection Façade, written to be recited over instrumental music by William Walton.

More details and the full text may be found at: https://www.chandos.net/chanimages/Booklets/CH8869.pdf with the poem on page 16.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.