We put this one first because you probably already know that bananas technically don't grow on trees. But have you ever seen them in bloom? Because we sure haven't and wanted to share it with you.
Look at that incredible thing! They grow in big, circular bunches around a giant pointy flower. And by giant, we mean huge. Sure, the bananas aren't fully grown, but that flower is definitely as long or longer than a fully-grown banana and is almost as wide as the bunch!
This one is probably one of our favorites. The reason being that we could not for the life of us understand how cloves are grown and what they look like, let alone whether or not they are a flower or a tree.
Turns out that they are the immature bud from a clove tree's flower. Before they turn red, they are picked and dried out. If you take a look, you'll instantly see the resemblance between these colorful buds and the dark, woody brown cloves we use for cooking.
If you've never seen a passion fruit growing, you wouldn't know the kind of flower that precedes it. They are large, perfectly circular, and almost alien looking flowers. They're certainly just as od as the fruit itself.
And yes, that thing hanging there is a passion fruit. You might be used to seeing those where they are grown, but we are used to seeing the purple variety with bright, almost neon yellow seeds.
Dates, which grow primarily in the deserts of the Middle East and Africa, are a hugely popular fruit all over the world. They are typically eaten after they are pitted and dried slightly, but can also be eaten fresh.
What you might not have known is that they grow in huge bunches with multiple bunches per tree, making them one of the most plentiful harvests amongst farmed fruits. They almost look like a whole fishing net's worth of dates per bunch. That must weigh at least ten pounds each or more!
You've likely seen the vanilla flower on your cup of yogurt, but we all know that that's not the vanilla bean that gives us one of the most popular flavors in the world. Those pods behind the flower are what contain the seeds that we use.
When they grow out, they are picked off and they dry into a chewy, sticky brown pod containing thousands of tiny black seeds. This seed goo that comes out of the pod is what gives us that delectable flavor. If you go out and buy fresh vanilla bean pods
Depending on where you live, you're probably used to seeing a whole pack of these dried and packaged into a box. At least, that's how we get our fix of these delicious and addictive superfruits.
While you may enjoy them all the time, it's highly likely that you've never seen them growing before. They grow in large vine-like bunches from a bush that is actually surprisingly easy to grow in our own backyard!
What could those itty-bitty tree pods be? Well, if you read the title of this item then you've already spoiled it for yourself. Those tiny little things are what will one day be large papaya, or pawpaw, fruit.
Interestingly, they grow off of the tree's trunk. When they are fully grown they have a similar appearance to coconuts, albeit without that distinctive coconut shape to them. We're referring to the way they hang in bunches from the top of the tree.
We know what you're wondering: how in the world is that a cashew? Well, obviously they really are cashews as you can tell from their distinctive shape, but... are those really how they grow? Yes, it is. They grow off of the bottom of what's called a cashew apple (who'd thunk?) and within the cashew shell.
This false fruit is in fact edible, but highly perishable, so you probably will miss the opportunity to eat a fresh one. Also, by the time they are fully grown, the fruit is completely shrunken away. Also, if you couldn't tell, they grow one nut per fruit, so it's hard to imagine the process of getting a whole box of nuts being easy.
If you love saffron you'll know how expensive it is. That's because what we call saffron is actually the stigma (the female organ of a flower) of the flower Crocus Sativus and each flower only grows three stigmas per flowering cycle.
While you don't need too much saffron to flavor your food, the cost adds up due to its low yield. They are, however decently easy to grow with a lot of sunlight and the right soil as they don't need too much care before they bloom. Maybe you could save some money by growing them yourself!
It may not surprise you to hear that cinnamon is actually the bark of a tree. But for those of you who didn't know, surprise! Cinnamon sticks are produced by carving them out of a cinnamon tree's bark.
It's more common to use the sticks and branches of the tree itself as that doesn't harm the tree and it allows you to get thinner sticks. But, yes, that powder you love to sprinkle on desserts is actually tree shavings.
Listen, for those of you who think the wasabi you're eating is true wasabi, you're wrong. Most of the wasabi we see is made from a type of horseradish and mustard mix with a green dye added to it.
The reason for that is because real wasabi is very expensive and doesn't have a very long shelf life. That means you're going to have to travel to Japan to get a real taste of the stuff. As for how they're grown, they are basically the same as horseradish and mustard, being from the same family.
You're probably not surprised to hear that peanuts are actually a legume--they grow from the ground, not a tree. And if that's news to you then we're happy to tell you that they are not actually nuts, though they do seem like them.
That's why whenever you get a pack of them at the store or a baseball game they may be covered in some type of hair-like roots. Those are actually the roots of the plant from being pulled up from the ground.
For those of you that think kiwis grow from trees, we're about to ruin it for you. They actually grow from vines, similar to grapes. Just take a look at the photo below and tell us we're wrong.
What's amazing about these fruits is just the multitude of fruits being produces on each vine. There are so many more than even we expected to see. If you thought they were tree fruits then this is sure to surprise you.
That's not the only thing that's a flower. And similar to pineapples, artichokes don't grow on trees or from the ground. They are a flower as well and a beautifully odd one at that.
They come from the milk thistle family of flowers. If you take a look at the purple bit sprouting in the image above you might realize that that's the same hair-like structure and purple color as the artichoke heart. The artichoke is the flower before it blooms.
If you're like us you have no idea where peppercorns come from. They are actually the fruit of a flowering vine from the family Piperaceae. Don't ask us to memorize that for a test.
The best thing about these "fruits" is the way they look while on the vine. They look like tiny little juicy bubbles, although we'd be hard-pressed to actually try to eat one. We know what's inside.
These common brain-shaped nuts are actually considered stone fruit (is any food these days considered what we really think they are? We're looking at you, fake fruit tomatoes).
The walnut commonly grows in little bunches where each fruit contains a seed pit and each pit is cracked open to reveal the nut inside. It's a pretty arduous process for a whole box of walnuts. That's probably why you can commonly find them in the shell--it's just easier, and more fun, to make us crack 'em open.
Similar to dates, figs grow in large bunches. But rather than growing off of the tree in large net-like structures, they grow off of the branches close to the trunk of the tree. Also, you probably didn't know how they grow, and it will definitely freak you out. We get figs from female fig wasps. What does this mean?
Well, the flower of the fig is inside the fig pod. A fig wasp looks to lay her eggs inside male figs. They are born there and come out carrying the pollen. When a fig wasp accidentally enters a female fig, she can't lay her eggs and gets trapped and dies, but pollinates the fig in the process, producing the fruit we eat.
The delicious condiment (or ingredient, depending on where you're from) is an interesting little fellow, as they are neither a fruit nor a vegetable, but rather something else entirely. But if they aren't fruits or vegetables, what are they?
There aren't many options to choose from, so we'll just tell you: they are the immature buds of a flower called Capparis spinosa of which they get their name. If you look closely, you might be able to tell that they are shaped the same.
Eggplants, also known as aubergines outside of the US, are not actually vegetables, but rather fruits--or berries by botanical definition. That certainly surprised us, since they lool like vegetables.
If you take a look at the picture, you'll understand why it's not a veggie. It doesn't grow from the ground. It starts off as a tiny little purple ball on the end of a flower bud and grows to be its classical egg-shaped self within a few months.
What we're about to tell you might blow your mind. Pineapples are neither apples (that much is obvious), nor do they grow from a type of pine tree (less obvious). They actually grow from a flower...on the ground.
The pineapple is what's known as a "multiple fruit". They form when a bunch of flowers come together and fuse into a single entity. That technically makes a pineapple more than just a single fruit. Are you amazed yet?
Quinoa is technically a seed, not a grain, so it doesn't come from a plant that looks similar to rice or wheat. But it does come from a plant that looks extraordinarily photogenic, as far as edible plants go.
Just look at all the varieties there! We never expected that quinoa would be so colorful. The rainbow of plants that it's produced from just makes us want to eat it even more now.
For those of you who don't know how a durian grows and more so for those who have never seen one before, we thought we'd show you what they look like when they're growing from trees.
While that looks rather pedestrian, we thought we'd inform you that they can literally grow from any part of the tree--the branch, the trunk, you name it! Not only that, but the trees can grow more than 150 feet tall, making these spiky fruit trees seem more like a death trap than anything else.
You might have heard of lychees referred to as lychee nuts, but they are not nuts. If you've ever eaten one you would know that they are definitely some sort of berry with a very exotic flavor.
They grow in huge bunches on trees that many birds love to snack on. They don't continue to ripen after being picked, so they must be taken off the tree ready to eat (and eat them quickly!) when they're a bright red hue.
The best part about this list is trying to figure out how plants grow before you see it. If you haven't already seen the image and you don't know what asparagus plants look like, try to take a guess as to how they grow.
They are literally exactly the same as they are when we eat them! These little things just spear their way out of the ground like it's no one's business. Just give them a wash and they'll be ready for cooking right out f the ground!
Out of all the plants on this list, we think that dragon fruit is the most beautiful. They have bright red skin and incredibly pure white flesh that is flecked with many black seeds. It's honestly a sight to behold.
We've never before seen the plant, though, which is just as interesting as the plant itself. It's segmented in a way that resembles scales and now we understand why the name dragon fruit must have stuck.
These seeds actually don't come from seed pods, but rather little husks that grow on the plant that look slightly similar to wheat. They also have these delightful little blue flowers that dangle beside them.
So, no, they do not look anything like chia pets, but we think that this look is even better for the plant that produces such marvelous seeds. We can't get over their ability to hold water and create a gelatinous texture and we think the flower's hue represents this greatly.
The seed pods of the plant Sesamum indicum are where we get these delicious toppings. When roasted, they have the most wonderful nutty flavor and they can also be made into a sauce (tahini) or a dessert (halva).
But you've probably never seen them before. They are the most well-organized seed pods we've ever seen with rows and rows of seeds sitting nicely inside the pod. This arrangement is a perfectionist's dream.
No, that's not a typo. We actually get cocoa from the fruit of the cacao tree. These giant seed-bearing fruits are typically grown in tropical areas close to the equator and are a green or yellow color.
They go through a long process to become the chocolate we love, but that doesn't stop anyone from cultivating these fruits. They are also really good for you, so you might want to consider trying it in some of its less processed forms.
We've already shown you many nuts that start off as fruits. Well, we're not done yet, as we have to show you the beautiful fruits that bear our pistachios, one of the most unique tasting nuts out there.
They come in large bundles of what looks to be tiny, extra-pointy mangoes. As if we didn't love them enough already, the look of these nuts when they grow on trees makes our mouths water and now we hunger for fruit.
These delicious little cabbage-looking things are one of the more curious-looking plants on this list. They grow on stalks that look a little bit like mini palm trees and they grow in spiraling patterns up the side of the plant.
In our heads, we imagined these would look like tiny little cabbages growing up from the ground. We were pleasantly surprised to see that these little veggies grew in such a mesmerizing pattern.
For those of you who suffer from trypophobia, we won't subject you to an image of the cross-section of the inside. We know that can be triggering to some, but we do appreciate the star-shaped cutlets it can produce.
What we didn't know was how it grows. It's part of the mallow family (yes, like marshmallows, but not the candy we enjoy today) and grows on a small plant with a particularly beautiful flower.
As with the rest of the seeds on this list, flaxseed comes from a flower, but rather than larger pods, it comes in tiny ones surrounded by very delicate, baby blue flowers. We love it already.
Each pod is so small that it can only hold about half a dozen seeds. That's not a lot when you're using them in a recipe. Either way, they come with many pods so it might be possible to grow them yourself and have a steady supply of flax.
We've got another seed pod for you, and this time it comes from the magnificent poppy plant and its beautiful red flowers. Each pod is a pretty good size and the pants can produce as many as 2,500 seeds per square foot.
What's also interesting is this plant is where we get the opium used to create amazing painkillers like morphine and codeine as well as illegal drugs like heroin. That's why you can't eat poppy seeds before a blood test--it'll affect the results and show you're positive for opioid use!
This one is a little weird as you might know that they simply grow straight out of the ground. But what you might not know about them is what just might surprise you this time around.
When you eat broccoli, you are actually eating the flower itself. This isn't some "fruit" that grows from the flower or a root or anything like that. It's the actual flower of the plant, though you might not have known that since it doesn't have the trademark petals. That is, unless you count those leaves as the petals.
This plant isn't necessarily surprising because of the way it grows, although you might think they grow underground similarly to beets since they look slightly similar. What's surprising is why it grows.
It grows above ground the same way that its "siblings" do. What exactly do we mean by that? Well, kohlrabi is actually the same exact species of plant as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and collard greens--Brassica oleracea. They are just bred to be genetically different, like dogs.
Aside from growing beautiful flowers before they start to bear fruit, almond trees also sprout giant pods with an equally large shell inside. These are what will eventually become the almonds we eat.
First, they are peeled, then they are shelled, and finally, if they are the bitter variety, they are boiled or roasted to help reduce toxin levels. Don't worry, the sweet variety you find in the supermarket is safe to consume!
This last one might surprise you as well. Leeks are deliciously oniony and have long stalks, but did you know that they grow in large flower fields? Those fields are the leeks themselves.
Look at how big those flowers are! And they're such an interesting shade of purple, too. If you would have shown us this picture and asked us what it was, we would have never guessed that it's a field of leeks.
Is it a bird? Is it a soybean? No, that's a chickpea. Though, if by soybean you mean a type of legume, then yes, it is that. But again, that does not make it a soybean. Sorry for any confusion.
But when you look at them they do have a similar texture to edamame. The thing is that they are so small you could swear each pod only has one pea. Well, they do. Between one to three to be exact. That's a lot of plants to harvest the amount we eat.
Looking at this, you may never think that this is a grain, let alone edible. Well, it is. This is what amaranth looks like before it is harvested and turned into a usable product that many people know and love.
We, on the other hand, have never tried it for ourselves, so we were also surprised to see it in its true form. By the way, we said it was a grain, but it only really acts like one. It's actually a seed, but that probably won't stop you if you love this stuff but swear off seeds.
This is an herb that you may have heard of before. It's used for the treatment of many ailments such as altitude sickness, vertigo, premenstrual syndrome, and even as a vasodilator.
Looking at the image, you might be tempted to believe that the fruit is what gives us such a powerful medication. However, as we said before, it's an herb and the interestingly shaped leaf is what we're talking about. The fruit is edible, though, if you're interested.