An achene (Greek ἀ, a, privative + χαίνειν, chainein, to gape; also sometimes referred to as akene and occasionally achenium or achenocarp) is a type of simple dry fruit produced by many species of flowering plants. Achenes are monocarpellate (formed from one carpel) and indehiscent (they do not open at maturity). Achenes contain a single seed that nearly fills the pericarp, but does not adhere to it. In many species, what we think of as the "seed" is actually an achene, a fruit containing the seed. The seed-like appearance arises from the fact that the wall of the seed-vessel hardens and encloses the solitary seed so closely as to seem like an outer coat.
In botany, a diaspore is a plant dispersal unit consisting of a seed or spore plus any additional tissues that assist dispersal. In some seed plants, the diaspore is a seed and fruit together, or a seed and elaiosome. In a few seed plants, the diaspore is most or all of the plant, and is known as a tumbleweed.
Diaspores are common in weedy and ruderal species. Collectively, diaspores, seeds, and spores that have been modified for migration are disseminules.
A diaspore of seed plus elaiosome is a common adaptation to seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory). This is most notable in Australian and South African sclerophyll plant communities. Typically, ants carry the diaspore to their nest, where they may eat the elaiosome and discard the seed, and the seed may subsequently germinate.
A diaspore of seed(s) plus fruit is common in plants dispersed by frugivores. Fruit-eating bats typically carry the diaspore to a favorite perch, where they eat the fruit and discard the seed. Fruit-eating birds typically swallow small seeds but, like bats, may carry larger seeded fruits to a perch where they eat the fruit and discard the seed. Diaspores such as achenes and samarae are dispersed primarily by wind; samaras are dispersed also by sailing or tumbling as they fall in still air. Drift fruits and some others are dispersed by water.