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Mast (botany): Wikis


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Mast is the "fruit of forest trees like acorns and other nuts"[1]. It is also defined as "the fruit of trees such as beech, and other forms of Cupuliferae"[2]. Alternatively, it can also refer to "a heap of nuts"[1].

More generally, mast is considered the edible vegatative or reproductive part produced by woody species of plants, i.e. trees and shrubs, that wildlife species and some domestic animals consume. It comes in two forms.


Hard mast

Tree species such as oak, hickory and beech produce a hard mast - acorns, hickory nuts, and beechnuts. It has been traditional to turn pigs into forests to fatten on this form of mast. Also branch tips of the latest year's growth are eaten by some wildlife, such as deer.

Soft mast

Other tree and shrub species produce a soft mast - leaf buds, catkins, true berries, drupes, and rose hips.


  1. ^ a b Swartz, Delbert (1971). Collegiate Dictionary of Botany. New York: The Ronald Press Company. p. 284.  
  2. ^ Jackson, Benjamin Daydon (1928). A Glossary of Botanic Terms with their Derivation and Accent (fourth ed.). London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd.. p. 224.  

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