Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

pomology from the Latin for fruit (later apple), is the study of fruits, largely from the consuming point of view. Its concentration on the edible or useful aspects distinguishes it from the specifically botanical study, carpology (derived from the corresponding Greek word), which treats of the fruits that all flowering plants bear, whether eaten or not.

Pomology is often used loosely to refer to the practice of fruit culture and, although this meaning has no place here, the influence of horticultural methods on systematic description deserves attention. With improvements in pest control, for instance, certain small blemishes, once considered to be essential characters of the fruit, are now recognized as the incidental result of disease or insect nibbling.