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[ey-keen, uh-keen] /eɪˈkin, əˈkin/
noun, Botany
any small, dry, hard, one-seeded, indehiscent fruit.
Also, akene.
1835-45; < New Latin achaenium, equivalent to a- a-6 + Greek chain- (stem of chaínein to gape) + Latin -ium -ium
Related forms
[ey-kee-nee-uh l, uh-kee-] /eɪˈki ni əl, əˈki-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for achene
  • The tubercle is about three-fourths to nearly as wide as the broadest part of the achene.
  • Needle spike-rush: egg-shaped, white to pale gray or yellowish achene.
  • The fatty acid composition of the achene oil determines its end use suitability.
  • For example, a water soluble inhibitor in the achene coat must be leached prior to germination.
  • The achene is fully developed several days before the berry is mature.
  • The seeds are an achene, and appear similar to a sunflower seed, but are smaller.
  • Each achene contains a flattened ovate green nutlet.
  • Flowers have bright yellow flowers and produce a small one seeded achene.
  • An achene is a type of simple dry fruit produced by many species of flowering plants.
  • Variations a winged achene, such as in maple, is called a samara.
British Dictionary definitions for achene


a dry one-seeded indehiscent fruit with the seed distinct from the fruit wall. It may be smooth, as in the buttercup, or feathery, as in clematis
Derived Forms
achenial, akenial, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin achaenium that which does not yawn or open, from a-1 + Greek khainein to yawn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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achene in Science
achene also akene
A small, dry, one-seeded fruit in which the seed sits free inside the hollow fruit, attached only by the stem of the ovule. Achenes are indehiscent (they do not split open when ripe). The fruits of the sunflower and elm are achenes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for achene

dry, one-seeded fruit lacking special seams that split to release the seed. The seed coat is attached to the thin, dry ovary wall (husk) by a short stalk, so that the seed is easily freed from the husk, as in buckwheat. The fruits of many plants in the buttercup family and the rose family are achenes.

Learn more about achene with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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