Is a Lemon a Fruit or a Vegetable?

Lemons are sour and tart and one of the most common foods. Small to medium-sized lemons are bright yellow in color and are often seen in the fresh produce aisle next to its partner in crime, the lime. When considering the selection of fruits and vegetables in the produce section, it may be hard to tell if the lemon is a fruit or a vegetable. 

Lemon is a food that can be categorized as a fruit. Although the lemon does spend part of its germination and early phases in a vegetable-like growth, the end result, the lemon, is a fruit. The lemon ends its life as a juicy fruit with a protective outer coating, and most lemons bear at least a few seeds. 

The lemon being a fruit or a vegetable has long been a debate. Some have even classified the lemon as a berry as far-reaching as that classification was. Looking at the differences between a fruit and a vegetable can help clarify the classification that most scientists can agree on: the lemon is a fruit. 

Can You Categorize Lemon as a Fruit or a Vegetable?

Vegetables and fruits are often sold fresh in produce sections of grocery stores. Lemons are often on display amidst all of the fruits and vegetables. We can tell what a lemon is by understanding the classifications of both fruits and vegetables. 

What is Considered a Fruit?

A fruit is the reproductive part of the plant that is soft, sweet, edible and contains seeds. There are even different categories of fruits, such as citrus, stone, tropical, and berries. These various categories refer to where and how the fruit grows and what the inside of the fruit contains.

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What is Considered a Vegetable?

A vegetable is any part of the plant that can be consumed that is considered a root, shoot, leaf, or stem. There are a nightshade, cruciferous, root, and vegetables in a category called greens. These different vegetables have different characteristics, but all share the same: none of the vegetables carry seeds. 

What is a Lemon?

When looking at all of the information between fruits and vegetables, it is easy to see what category the lemon fits into. Lemons are seed-bearing, soft-bodied, sweet, and tangy parts of a citron tree and can be considered a fruit. The lemon grows on trees and has big juicy lemons during the tree’s fruiting season.

What Type of Fruit is a Lemon?

Fruits have a few different categories, including citrus fruits, berries, stone fruit, and tropical fruit. Lemons are a citrus fruit and share this category with oranges and limes. Lemons have a distinct and crisp citrus smell and flavor and bear seeds like most other citrus fruits.  


A lemon is considered a fruit in the age-old debate of whether a lemon is a fruit or a vegetable. Lemon is a fruit because it has soft and tangy, has a tough outer skin or rind, and bears seeds like most other fruits. Lemons are a part of the citrus fruit family and shares this category with oranges and limes.