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The fruit of a plant is the totality of the organs that emerge from a flower and enclose the plant seeds until they ripen. In principle, only those plants that have a closed ovary (angiosperms) form fruits. In the case of gymnosperms, which include conifers and ginkgo trees, only free seeds are formed.

In addition to the carpel, the following organs can be involved in the formation of a fruit: Axillary tissue (for example, the receptacle), perianth, glumes. The fruit is used for dispersal. Depending on whether the seeds are enclosed by the fruit or released when ripe, a distinction is made between closed and open or spreading fruits.

In common usage, fruits are also understood to include fruit and a clear distinction is not always made between the seeds and the fruit.

Edible plant parts which, according to different definitions, are assigned to vegetables on the one hand and fruits on the other, are referred to as fruiting vegetables.