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Maya Nut: not just an ordinary fruit (or nut)

Our recent findings have lead us to develop a protocol which enables the storage of Maya Nut (Brosimum alicastrum) seed for several months. As part of this we asked Wolfgang Stuppy from the Millennium Seed Bank to have a look at the anatomy of the fruit and seed to see whether we could get any insights into why it behaves as it does. As part of this work he came across some very interesting facts about the fruit and seed.

In Maya Nuts the fleshy  fruit is actually modified stalks and nothing to do with the flower or ovary as would be the case for the vast majority of fruits. The seed itself is the product of a lone female flower which sits nestled in a cluster of fused stalks (see below) of aborted sister flowers. The cluster itself has had all of its branches shortened to nothing but a small bract which you can see as bright round discs  on the surface.

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