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As Karpologie ( ancient Greek καρπός Karpos "fruit") that science is referred to as a field of botany with the fruits of plants concerned. The flower in the state of seed ripening is called fruit . The fruit is the entirety of the organs that emerge from the flower and whose task it is to cause it to spread .


Especially in the time before genetics or genetic engineering , carpology was used to determine relationships between plant taxa . So-called carpological systems emerged , i.e. a systematic order that is based on the fruits.

Today there are fruits that are economically very important, for example cereal grains , soy or oilseeds and fruits or fruit vegetables . As a result, carpology continues to be important.

Significance for archeology

Carpology is of particular importance to archeology and palaeography . During excavations, seeds of plants are found again and again. So is carpology concerned with seeds, which are not fruits? Determining these can provide very valuable insights. In contrast to other parts of the plant, the seeds have a higher potential for fossilization due to their strong wall . Therefore, fine-grained sediments often contain seeds or imprints or fossils ( karpolithe ). The informative value of semen finds is also advantageous. Because of the large number of forms and the low intraspecific variability , a relatively precise taxonomic classification is almost always possible. In the case of leaf and wood fossils or pollen and spores , this is not so easy because the latter are usually not found together with their producers, and the former not because of their low variability. Therefore, statements regarding biostratigraphy , paleoecology and paleoclimatology are much easier and safer to make with fruits than with other parts of plants.

Carpological collections

The Osnabrück Botanical Garden has a collection of over 900 different seeds, some of which have been accessible in a permanent exhibition since 2007. In addition to fruit types, this also involves mechanisms of spread .

The carpological collection of the University of Hamburg (Collectio Fructuum Hamburgense) comprises around 30,000 objects


  • Klaus Stopp: Carpological Studies I / II. With 45 illustrations in the text. Verl. D. Academy d. Sciences and literature 1950. 756 pages.
  • Klaus Stopp: Carpological Studies III / IV. With 30 illustrations in the text. Verl. D. Academy d. Sciences and literature 1951. 1747 pages.
  • Tilo Nötzold: Carpological fossils from the late glacial of the Rostock Heath. Job. Palaeontographica Division B Volume 123 Delivery 1-6 (1968).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b "Cold coffee or up-to-date?" - Exhibition of a carpological collection . Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  2. Carpology . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. Volume 9, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1885–1892, p. 560.
  3. Sporae dispersae . In: GeoLexikon . Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  4. Carpology . In: GeoLexikon . Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  5. Hans-Peter Starck: Botanical Collection. Retrieved February 18, 2019 .
  6. Carpological fossils from the late glacial of the Rostock Heath - Palaeontographica section B volume 123 . Retrieved December 18, 2011.