Is Broccoli a Vegetable or Fruit?

If you enjoy eating broccoli, you may be wondering is broccoli a vegetable or fruit or is it neither. This is a commonly asked question, as broccoli is one of those types of produce that can be hard to classify.

In fact, many people struggle to understand what different types of produce are vegetables or fruit. As they may not always be what you may initially think since produce can be surprising.

For instance, most people classify a tomato as a vegetable because it is prepared in savory ways. But a tomato is actually a fruit and how it grows and reproduces, which may come as a surprise to many people.

Keep reading to find out if a broccoli is a vegetable or a fruit or if it is considered to be something else entirely.

Broccoli Is Not a Fruit or Vegetable

If you enjoy eating broccoli, you may be wondering is broccoli a vegetable or fruit. This is a very common question, but the answer is not nearly as simple as you may think because broccoli is not technically a fruit or a vegetable.

Two Men Standing on the Broccoli Farm

Broccoli is often used to describe the flowering part of a broccoli plant, resulting in it not being a fruit or a vegetable. This is another common example of a type of produce that is not what you may think it is.

Vegetables are typically described as being a part of a plant that is considered to be edible or grown specifically for that part of the plant. Examples of this would be bell peppers, turnips, onions, or potatoes.

Fruits are considered to be seed bearing plants that have been produced from flowering. As they are produced from flowering seeds that have been produced in the ovary of the plant from the seed.

These are quite broader terms and the majority of people do not use them correctly or fully understand what they mean. This is because there are certain types of produce that we automatically assume are vegetables or fruit depending on how they taste and how they are prepared.

Is Broccoli a Flower?

Since broccoli is neither a fruit nor a vegetable, you may be wondering what exactly it is. It may come as a surprise to you that broccoli is actually considered to be a flower.

The entire broccoli plant itself is not considered to be a flower as it is not built the way that a flower is built. But the part of the broccoli that is eaten is the flowering part that has not yet opened up to create full flowers.

Surprisingly, broccoli is not the only kind of produce that is considered to be a flower rather than a fruit or vegetable. As this is a category that many people do not even know about when it comes to the produce that they buy and eat.

Produce can be classified into two different sections as all kinds of produce create a flower and this helps them to spread seeds and reproduce.

Edible Flower

Because all types of produce create flowers, they have to be defined into two categories. What makes a produce that is considered to be a flower is if the flower is edible, creating one category of flowering produce

broccoli in a bowl on a wooden board

This is used to describe a plant that creates a flower that is edible, usually with people specifically eating the flower part and not the rest. This is what makes a type of produce a flower instead of a fruit or vegetable.

Non-Edible Flower

There are also different kinds of plants that create flowers, but they are not edible. That, or people may not eat the flowering part typically but eat another part of the plant.

One example of this is root vegetables, as the majority of root vegetables have a flower that grows at the top of the soil. But you will not typically see these flowers being sold in grocery stores even if they are considered to be edible.

That is why different kinds of produce, like turnips and carrots are considered to be vegetables and not flowers.

Broccoli Is Which Part of Plant

A broccoli plant is a type of plant that is specifically grown, so that the flowering part can be eaten. This is usually the very top of the plant where the flower buds are tightly compacted and held together by thick stems.

One unique thing about broccoli is that the majority of the broccoli plant can be safely eaten as well as a flowering part. So you can’t technically eat the flowering part of the broccoli as well as the fleshy stems.

This is a great option as you can enjoy the entire broccoli plant and allow nothing to go to waste. Though it is important to make sure that you harvest broccoli before the flowering part starts to actually open and blossom.

As the quality of broccoli goes down significantly once the flower buds have opened and the flowers have officially begun to grow. This affects the flavor and texture as well as how you can store broccoli.

Broccoli Is Not a Root Vegetable

Some people may be confused about what broccoli is and what part of the plant it encompasses. Broccoli is considered to be the very top of the plant as this is the flowering part where the buds are closely in it together.

Broccoli is not a root vegetable, as some people may assume, as you are not actually eating the root of the broccoli. This part of the plant is located beneath the soil and is generally not eaten for a variety of reasons.

Organic Green Roasted Broccoli Florets

Broccoli is not like root vegetables as the root part is not considered to be good to eat, and the flowery part is preferred. Unlike actual root vegetables like onions, carrots, potatoes, and turnips.

These are types of vegetables that are considered to be root vegetables as the root part is what is eaten. This does not necessarily mean that the top of these vegetables that grow above ground is not good to eat, but the root is more well-known.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Are Very Similar

Many people compare broccoli and cauliflower because they are very similar plants when, it comes to figuring out what exactly broccoli is. Both broccoli and cauliflower are considered to be flowering plants, where the flowering part is what is eaten.

You can also eat the majority of both broccoli and cauliflower, even if it isn’t necessarily the flowering part of the plant. As the fleshy stems that hold up the flowers are also edible and taste very similar to the actual flowers.

Both broccoli and cauliflower are considered to be unopened flower buds that are eaten before they fully grow. This is because the quality and the flavor goes down significantly if you eat broccoli and cauliflower once the buds have opened.

Though there are many other flowering plants that you may find in the produce aisle at your local grocery store. Artichokes are also considered to be a flower as they are unopened flower buds at the very top of the plant.

That is why they have petals that are tightly pulled together, as they have not had the chance to blossom and open up like a traditional flower.