I love when I know the exact word to describe something, whether that “something” is an emotion, a color, taste, or plant part. To help you feel more confident in the words of the botanical world, I’m starting this Botanical Alphabet series. It may or may not be published in exact alphabetical order.

aril: the fleshy outgrowth of the funicle (stalk that connects the seed to the fruit wall); partially or fully covers the seed

Pomegranates are such a pretty fruit. And such a misunderstood one. Did you know that a pomegranate is actually a berry? Weird, I know. Especially when you then learn that the fruits we think of as “berries” (strawberries, raspberries, etc.) are actually classified as an “aggregate fruit”.

But back to pomegranates. We talk about eating pomegranate seeds, which, technically we do. But the tasty part – those little sacs of bright red juiciness – those are arils. Each of the hundreds of seeds inside a pomegranate have this extra covering around them that grows out from where the seed attaches to the inside of the fruit wall. All in an effort to get animals, like us, to eat them and spread their seed around to grow more pomegranates.