What is the Difference Between a Seed and a Nut

Differentiating seeds from nuts can be pretty confusing sometimes. Whenever you see almond or walnut they look similar to peach seed. They have a hard outer cover and can grow into a new plant Still, they are different, and it’s not that easy to accept. That’s why today we will discuss What is the Difference Between a Seed and a Nut?

Seeds are the reproductive part of the plant. It stays inside a fruit. Sometimes it can be soft and edible while in other situations seeds can be as hards as a rock. On the other hand, Nut is a fruit with a singular intact hard shell. It can contain one or more seeds. Although most nuts usually have single seeds though sometimes they can have 2.

In botany, the seed is defined as the mature embryo that can germinate into a new plant. It acts as the food source for the tiny embryo. Nuts are single-seeded fruits with a hard shell. Usually, they don’t have any conjunction point like a seed. The hard shell of a nut doesn’t have any opening point. Therefore you can’t pop open a nut-like any other seed. It will require a nut opener or any other mechanical tool to break open a nut. Wanna grow something check out these veggies seeds on Amazon.

What is the Difference Between a Seed and a Nut
What is the Difference Between a Seed and a Nut

Check out my previous post: Why Do Some Oranges Don’t Have Seeds?

Are Seed and Nut are Same?

No seed and nuts are not same. They can have similarities Although they have a specific definition that differentiates them.

A seed can become a nut if we can’t observe any physical difference. For example, a beetle nut is a seed of beetle fruit. The fruit is fleshy and usually of no use. It is the seed that has importance. The Seed is the nut in this case. It is dense and hard and you can’t break open it without a nutcracker. The Beetle nut seed has a consistent structure and you can observe it in each broken piece. Each broken piece of bottle nut seed looks similar throughout and you can’t point the embryo. This character is different from the general definition of seeds. Every seed must have a tiny embryo inside it. The embryo is visible if you carefully split open the cotyledons of the seed.

Seeds Vs Nuts

A seed is fertilized ovule that develops after the successful pollination of a flower. It consists of three distinct parts. These are-

  • An Embryo
  • The Endosperm
  • Seed Coat

The Embryo is a tiny plant that will sprout in favorable conditions to become a plant. It is fed with essential nutrition available in the endosperm. The Endosperm is the personal food store for the embryo. It will shed off when the seedlings grow enough to prepare their own food by photosynthesis. The final part of a seed is the seed coat. It is a thin protective covering that prevents the embryo and endosperm from external damage.

A nut is a fruit with a hard shell covering. Sometimes is referred to as an indehiscent fruit or seed. The indehiscent nature helps nuts to stay intact even after maturity. They never split open and disperse seed like other fruits. Most nuts are single-seeded while some of them can have 2 seeds.

Check out: Why is it Expensive to Produce Hybrid Seeds

Difference in structure

The seed is a reproductive part of the plant. It forms after the successful fertilization of the flower. The successful fertilization of the ovule gives us the seed and the ovary becomes the true fruit. Every seed consists of 3 essential parts. It should have a seed coat, endosperm, and the embryo. The variation in the endosperm and seed coat is physically visible. Although the initial embryo structure always remains the same.

Whereas the nut is just a fruit. An indehiscent fruit with a hard singular shell. Nuts are usually single-seeded. They are special in structure compared to other fruits and seeds. Generally, fruits and seeds pop up after maturity spreading the seeds away from the pant. This does not happen with indehiscent fruits. Their hard shell remains intact even after maturity. The seeds can not pop out of this shell and you may require a nutcracker to get them out.

Differences in Functioning

The main functioning of a seed is to protect and nourish the embryo until it gets ready to germinate. Giving birth to a new plant is the function of a seed. The endosperm of the seed contains the essential nutrients and moisture to keep the embryo alive and healthy.  Once you sprout and grow the seedling it will discard the old cotyledons. These cotyledons are the endosperm or the food source for the embryo.

The Nut has a different functioning rather than reproduction. It also has to protect the seed that is responsible for the reproduction of the plant. It acts as the first line of protection for the plant. The hard covering prevents anything, literally anything to reach the seed unless it is required for the plant growth. The indehiscent nuts protect their seeds long after maturity. It never breaks or split open on maturity. That’s why getting the seeds out of a nut is a tough task. Sometimes you may need a hammer or nutcracker to open the hard shell of a nut.

What Makes a nut different from a seed?

The Structure and functioning of a nut make it different from seeds. Though nuts can be seeds, a seed cannot be a nut in most cases. The perception also makes a difference.

Sometimes what we believe becomes so important that comparing the technicality has no importance. That’s why we can call peanut a nut though it is a legume seed. On the other hand, cashew is the nut and it contains the seed inside its leathery covering. This is also similar to Almonds which itself is an indehiscent fruit with a hard shell. The Almonds we consume are the true seed and can grow into a new almond tree if grown properly.

Also read: Difference Between Peanuts and Tree Nuts

Similarities Between Seeds and Nuts?

Sometimes you can’t separate a seed out of a nut. This happens in the case of walnut and others. Walnut is an indehiscent fruit. It has a hard pericarp or shell around it. It contains an irregular seed structure that we usually consume after breaking the shell. Although the shell and seed are different yet you can’t grow them after breaking the shell. The whole walnut is essential to be grown otherwise it will not sprout. This example shows that the nut is essentially a seed.

The ability to germinate make a nut similar to a seed. A nut is always a dry fruit so if it relates to any seed then it must have similar characteristics. If you have ever seen a beetle nut then you will agree that it is the seed as well as a nut.

There are many possible examples that can show similarities between a nut and seed Although they are different.

Final Words

A simple comparison suggests- A nut is a fruit and a seed is just a part of it. There are a few similarities in their structure although they are entirely different plant parts. Both nut and seed can grow into a new plant though it is the seed that gives birth to the seedling, not the nut. Therefore nuts and seeds are different unless there is nothing else to separate them.

So what do you think about nuts and seeds, are they the same or not? Write down in a comment and keep reading.


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

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