As with all aerial plant organs, fleshy fruits are encased in a hydrophobic cuticle that must fulfil multiple functions, including limiting desiccation and preventing microbial infection, which in the case of fruits maintains palatability and promotes seed dispersal. Fruit cuticles have many features in common with those of vegetative organs, but also have unique characteristics, including the fact that they are often astomatous, thicker than those of most leaves, and can be relatively easily isolated. These attributes provide a valuable experimental system to address questions related to cuticle structure, function, and the relationships between composition, architecture, permeability, and biomechanical properties. Here we provide an overview of insights into cuticle biology that have resulted from studies of those of fleshy fruits, as well as the diversity and dynamic nature of fruit cuticle composition and architecture, the environmental factors that influence those features, and the roles that they play in fruit ontogeny.
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