Measured Against Reality

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Oklahoma declares watermelon state vegetable

As if we needed any more proof that politicians are idiots. Oklahoma has named watermelon its State Vegetable.

OKLAHOMA CITY Oklahoma already has the strawberry as its official fruit, so the state Senate cleared the way Tuesday to declare the watermelon the state vegetable.

The measure was introduced in the House by Democratic Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs, site of an annual watermelon festival in August.

Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton, sponsored the bill in the Senate.

"The controversy on whether watermelon is a fruit or vegetable has been officially decided by the Oklahoma Legislature," Barrington said. He said watermelon comes from the cucumber and gourd families, which are classified as vegetables.

I like that this Barrington character thinks science is up for vote. Sorry buddy, that’s not how it works. The botanists say that watermelon is a fruit. In fact, it’s a special kind of fruit called a pepo (or more technically an epigynous, or false, berry). In fact, contrary to what mister Barrington claims, cucumbers and gourds are indeed fruits.

A fruit is the ripened ovary (seeds included) of a flowering plant, while a vegetable is pretty much any part of a plant that you eat that’s not sweet (or a nut, grain, herb, or spice). Things (like cucumbers and tomatoes) can be both, since one is technical and the other traditional (which is why asking “Is it a fruit or a vegetable?” is fairly meaningless).

Because the word vegetable isn’t precise, but generally doesn’t include sweet fruits, classifying a watermelon as a vegetable is pretty dumb. But hey, non-technical words can mean pretty much whatever people want, so Oklahoma can say that they’ve expanded the meaning of vegetable to include any part of a plant that we eat, but they can’t say that they’ve settled the matter and watermelon isn’t a fruit. That’s just stupid.

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  • Totally agree with you, who doesn't know the difference between vegetables and fruit?? Apparently Oklahoma state!

    By Anonymous Rob, at 11:16 AM, April 24, 2007  

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