Today’s discussion is going to be about fruit. But not round fruit. We are going to bring you a list of non-round fruit with short descriptions. While most of them will be known to you, you’ll probably find one or two you haven’t already seen or tried, so keep reading to find out more.
Non-round fruit include: Avocado, Banana, Carambola, Cherimoya, Date, Durian, Feijoa, Fig, Jackfruit, Jujube, Kiwano, Mango, Mulberry, Oriental melon, Papaya, Pear, Pineapple, Pitaya, Strawberry, and Tamarillo.
Most fruit you can think of is round. Apples, oranges, peaches… a variety of fruit from different parts of the world share the same shape. There is a reason for that, fruit is round because of the shape of plant cells, which have to be round or spherical to accumulate and develop into a fruit. The similarities in shape between different types of fruit are more common than in vegetables, which exhibit a variety of different shapes; just think of the differences between a carrot, a potato and cabbage – such differences are rarely present in fruit, because even those types which could be described as being non-round (e.g. pineapple, papaya, etc.) have a relatively round shape, with bananas being the only obvious exception to this rule.
If you want to find out more about those exotic fruits, check out our list below.
Now for the complete list of non-round fruit!
This is our list of non-round fruit with short descriptions of each. We’ve included 20 different species from around the world – most of which are well-known – but also some that are more exotic. We haven’t included barriers (e.g. blackberries, loganberries), because, despite their specific shape, they are generally round-shaped.
Here we go:
Latin name: Persea americana
The avocado is a fruit-bearing tree that originates from Mexico, but is today cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. The avocado is one of the most popular fruits today and it has a number of different health benefits. The fruit itself is a large green berry with a single, round seed in the middle. Although the avocado is similar to a round object, it is much more oblong (some cultivars even look like pears), which is why it is on our list. It is edible and has a lot of health benefits.
A seedless avocado is called a cuke.
Latin name: Musa
The banana isn’t a species per se; it is a fruit (which is also botanically considered to be a berry) produced by a variety of plants from the genus Musa. Although there are a lot of different species of banana trees, the fruits are practically always elongated; the differences can be in the color and the width, but all bananas – even the more exotic ones – are elongated. Most bananas are also seedless, but there are some seeded species (like the pink banana), which are more specific in shape and are rarely used in Western cuisine, although they are cultivated in greenhouses.
Bananas are often used in Western cuisine; they can be eaten alone or incorporated into other dishes, even different types of desserts.
3. Carambola (Star Fruit)
Latin name: Averrhoa carambola
The carambola is a very specific fruit grown and cultivated in tropical parts of the globe, being native to Southeast Asia. The fruit may look round from afar, but it is actually a very specific shape with distinctive ridges (usually 5 or 6) on the sides. When cut horizontally, the slices are going to look like starts, which is why this fruit is also called the star fruit; another name is the five-corner.
The carambola is completely edible, even raw, but it can also be cooked and prepared as a part of other dishes. It is also used as a flavor for different carbonated drinks.
Latin name: Annona cherimola
The cherimoya may look round, but it actually has a very specific, scaly shape that looks like the body of a fish. It is a fruit-bearing tree from the genus Annona and is closely related to the soursop, a similarly shaped, spiky fruit. It originated from Central America and moved to South America, but is today cultivated around the world, even in Spain and Italy. It has a large tradition among the Inca people.
The fruit is fully edible. It has a creamy texture and is considered to be very tasty. In fact, so tasty that the famous writer, Mark Twain, called it “the most delicious fruit known to men”.
Latin name: Phoenix dactylifera
The date is a small, oblong fruit growing on the date palm, a species from the palm family. Date palms are cultivated for their fruits and it probably stems from ancient Mesopotamia, today being grown in Africa and the Middle East, but is also popular in South Asia. It is a very popular dish in these parts of the world (a part of their traditional cuisine), but is eaten globally.
The date fruit is a small, oblong-shaped fruit that ranges from red to bright yellow, depending on the variety of the tree. Their exact shape could be described as oval-cylindrical. They range from 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7 centimeters) in length and have a diameter of about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters). They contain a lot of sugar and are considered as a sweet fruit, especially if dried up and eaten like that.
Latin name: Durio
The durian is a very special type of fruit growing on threes from the genus Durio. The Durio zibethinus is the only species available globally, while the two other available species are sold locally in Southeast Asia. The durian is a large fruit – it can grow up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) and is sometimes referred to as the “king of fruits”. Its shape can vary – from oblong to found – with its thorn-covered skin being an omnipresent distinction.
The durian has a very specific odor and people aren’t always in agreement on its effects. Some consider it to be sweet and pleasant, while others considered to be too strong and unpleasant; some places even forbid the consumption of durian due to its fragrance.
7. Feijoa (Pineapple Guava)
Latin name: Acca sellowiana
Most commonly called feijoa, although names like pineapple guava and guavatseen are also used, is a small fruit of the feijoa tree, growing in South America. The tree also has very specific and edible flowers, but what interests us is the fruit.
The fruit is green in color, about the size of a chicken egg (so relatively small) and has an ellipsoid shape. It has a very sweet and aromatic taste and is often compared to pineapple and apple. It is similar to the guava in look and has a juicy flesh divided into two parts. It usually falls on the ground when ripe, but it can also be picked.
Latin name: Ficus carica
The common fig is one of the most popular and most used fruits in the world. Although native to Asia, it is today cultivated and grown around the world. The tree has a lot of applications and is even used as an ornamental plant. The fruit is edible and is commonly used both fresh and dried, but it can also be used to make jam. They have a very strong, although sweet odor and you can easily tell when they’re over-ripe if they start to smell sour. The fruit is shaped like a small sack or satchel.
Although not toxic per se, combining a fig’s milky sap with UV lights can result in phytophotodermatitis, a potentially serious and harmful inflammation of the skin.
Latin name: Artocarpus heterophyllus
The jackfruit is the fruit of the jack tree, simple as that. It originates from South and Southeast Asia and is traditionally used in the national cuisines of these regions. The tree is specific and produces between 200 and 500 fruits annually. The jackfruit is the largest fruit of all trees in the world. It can reach 120 pounds (55 kilograms) in weight, 35 inches (90 cm) in height and 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter. The has an oblong shape and a specific skin that makes it easy to recognize.
The ripe jackfruit is sweet, which is why it is most often used in desserts, although the fruit – which is actually a multiple fruits composed of hundreds to thousands of individual pieces – can also be cooked separately and used with other dishes. Canned jackfruit is mild in taste and has a meaty texture, which is why it is often called “vegetable meat”.
Latin name: Ziziphus jujube
The jujube, or Chinese date, also the red date, is a species of the Ziziphus family native to South Asia and some other parts of the world. The tree is small and resembles a shrub, while the fruit reaches only 1.2 inches (3 centimetres) in diameter. The fruit is completely edible and is oval shaped, although there are more round variants. Raw jujube is green, while fresh is reddish; dried jujube is reddish and can also be eaten.
The jujube is often compared to apples, but with significantly lower acidity.
11. Kiwano (Horned Melon)
Latin name: Cucumis metuliferus
The horned melon, or kiwano, is yet another exotic fruit whose shape draws attention. It is native to Sub-Saharan Africa, but is today grown in other parts of the world. It is a traditional African fruit plant that resembles a melon, but with large spikes. It changes colors from green to orange depending on its ripeness, while the edible interior is green in color. It can be eaten at any stage of ripeness and is primarily used as a snack or in a salad, rarely as decoration.
If let to overripen, it will forcefully burst to release its seeds.
Latin name: Mangifera
The genus Mangifera contains a lot of trees that are cultivated for their fruit, the mango. The mango is native to Asia, especially South Asia (it is even the national fruit of India and Pakistan, and the national tree of Bangladesh), but is grown in warmer, tropical parts of the world. The mango fruit is very specific because it can vary a lot in shape, size, color, taste and eating quality. Mangoes are usually oblong, but can be oval-shaped, round and elliptic, based on the type. The colors range from yellow to green. Mangoes are usually very sweet, but even the sweetness depends on the type of mango cultivated.
They can be eaten raw (when ripe), added to other dishes or cooked and then eaten.
Latin name: Morus
The mulberry is actually a whole genus of plants, consisting of several distinct species. It can be cultivated, but also found in the wild, in regions with a temperate climate. Although there are more than 200 species, the three main ones – based on the color of the berries – are white, red and black mulberries. Although some berries look like berries in general (and we’ve explained why they’re not on our list), there are some species that are so elongated that they deserve a place on our list of non-round fruit. They are edible.
14. Oriental Melon
Latin name: Cucumis melo
The Oriental or Korean melon is a muskmelon native to East Asia. It is not completely round, more oval-shaped, with the shape varying based on each individual melon. The colors range from green to yellow depending on the stage of ripeness and it is relatively small when compared to other similar fruit.
It’s less sweet than traditional Western melons and contains about 90% of water. It is usually fresh and can be eaten whole.
Latin name: Carica papaya
The papaya is both a plant and a fruit from the genus Carica. It stems from the tropical areas of the Americas and is today very popular around the globe. The fruit is a relatively large berry similar in shape to a pear, but larger (up to 18 inches/45 cm). The usual color of ripe papaya is yellow/orange; you know papaya is ripe when it feels soft to the touch, similar to an avocado.
The unripe fruit can be cooked and eaten, but it cannot be eaten raw because of larger quantities of latex that are toxic for our bodies. The ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, but can be prepared in other ways. The seeds are also edible.
Latin name: Pyrus
The pear is actually a whole genus of trees and shrubs with a large number of individual species. The pear is cultivated around the world and is one of the most commonly used and eaten fruits globally. It has a lot of different applications and health benefits. The fruit has a very specific shape (the pear shape) and even it can vary depending on the species. The colors also vary, including yellow, golden, green, red, orange and others.
The pear is edible, it can be used to prepare other food and even in the production of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Latin name: Ananas comosus
The pineapple is a famous tropical fruit, known for its spikey skin and its characteristic appearance which earned it a place on our list. The pineapple was originally a tropical fruit, but was soon introduced to other parts of the world and has become an often-consumed delicacy. It can be eaten raw, cooked or used as an additional ingredient on other food. It can also be used to make pineapple juice.
The pineapple also has a lot of healthy nutrients and is generally considered to be beneficial for your health.
18. Pitaya or Pitahaya (Dragon Fruit)
Latin name: Stenocereus and Hylocereus
This is a very specific fruit and not just because of its shape. It is a fruit growing on specific cactuses indigenous to the American, although it is today cultivated in other parts of the world. Not even botanists are completely clear on the taxonomy of this fruit. Namely, the term pitaya is usually used to refer to the fruits of the genus Stenocereus; they are edible, but a bit sourer than the variety of the genus Hylocereus. The latter is also called the pitahaya or, more commonly, the dragon fruit (due to its shape).
The pitaya is more round shaped with red-green leaves sticking out the surface, while the pitahaya looks more like a ball of flame. They have a creamy white texture inside and are edible.
Latin name: Fragaria × ananassa
Although one of the most popular fruits out there, the strawberry is actually a hybrid species first bred in Britain in the 18th century. Today, they are grown around the world, mostly for their delicious food. Strawberries are widely eaten around the world, whether as raw, ripe fruits or as parts of other meals. A ripe strawberry is red in color and had a juicy texture; the flavor is very sweet. Unripe strawberries are green and they turn red as time passes.
They are small in size and can vary in shape.
Latin name: Solanum betaceum
The small tamarillo is a very interesting Andean tree and fruit that is today popular globally. It is a small (1.6-4 inches/4-10 cm), egg-shaped fruit that has a lot of healthy substances and compounds, which is why this fruit has a lot of health benefits. The color of the fruit ranges from green to orange, red or even purple, depending on the ripeness. The rad variants are more acetous, while the others are sweeter. They are eaten by opening them and eating the inside flesh.
U.S. Department Of Agriculture. “Dates, deglet noor” https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171726/nutrients