Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family, whose large flower head is used as a vegetable. The word broccoli, from the Italian plural of broccolo, refers to “the flowering top of a cabbage”. Broccoli is often boiled or steamed but may be eaten raw.
Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head (the white curd) is eaten. The cauliflower head is composed of a white inflorescence meristem. Cauliflower heads resemble those in broccoli, which differs in having flower buds.
The globe artichoke is a variety of a species of thistle cultivated as a food. The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom. The budding artichoke flower-head is a cluster of many budding small flowers (an inflorescence) together with many bracts, on an edible base.
The caper bush, also called Flinders rose, is a perennial winter-deciduous plant that bears rounded, fleshy leaves and large white to pinkish-white flowers. The plant is best known for the edible flower buds (capers), often used as a seasoning, and the fruit (caper berry), both of which are usually consumed pickled.
Kale or borecole is a vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms.
Collard greens is the American English term for various loose-leafed cultivars of Brassica oleracea, part of the Acephala Group which also contains cabbage and broccoli.
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an edible flowering plant in the family of Amaranthaceae. It is native to central and southwestern Asia. It is an annual plant (rarelybiennial), which grows to a height of up to 30 cm. Spinach may survive over winter in temperate regions.
Eruca sativa (syn. E. vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell., Brassica eruca L.) is an edible annual plant, commonly known as salad rocket, roquette, rucola, rugula, colewort, and, in the United States, arugula.
Endive belongs to the chicory genus, which includes several similar bitter leafed vegetables. Species include endive (Cichorium endivia), Cichorium pumilum, and common chicory (Cichorium intybus). Common chicory includes chicory types such as radicchio, puntarelle, and Belgian endive. There is considerable confusion between Cichorium endivia and Cichorium intybus.
Lettuce is an annual plant of the aster or sunflower family Asteraceae. It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable, but sometimes for its stem and seeds. Lettuce was first cultivated by the ancient Egyptians who turned it from a weed, whose seeds were used to produce oil, into a plant grown for its leaves.
Watercress is a fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial plant native to Europe and Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans. It is a member of the family Brassicaceae, botanically related to garden cress, mustard and radish — all noteworthy for a peppery, tangy flavour.
The leek is a vegetable that belongs, along with onion and garlic. Historically many scientific names were used for leeks, which are now treated as cultivars of Allium ampeloprasum. The edible part of the leek plant is a bundle of leaf sheaths that is sometimes erroneously called a stem or stalk.
The Brussels sprout is a cultivar in the group of cabbages, grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm (0.98–1.6 in) in diameter and look like miniature cabbages. The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium, and may have originated there.
Kohlrabi (German turnip or turnip cabbage) (Brassica oleracea Gongylodes group) (Olkopi in Assamese and Bengali) (Monji Haak in Kashmiri) is an annual vegetable, and is a low, stout cultivar of cabbage. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked.
Galangal is a rhizome of plants in the ginger family, with culinary and medicinal uses originating in Indonesia. The rhizomes are used in various Asian cuisines Though it is related to and resembles ginger, there is little similarity in taste.
Stems of Leaves
Celery is a plant variety in the family Apiaceae, commonly used as a vegetable. The plant grows to 1 m tall. The leaves are pinnate to bipinnate with rhombic leaflets 3–6 cm long and 2–4 cm broad. The flowers are creamy-white, 2–3 mm in diameter, and are produced in dense compound umbels. The seeds are broad ovoid to globose, 1.5–2 mm long and wide.
Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is a species of plant in the family Polygonaceae. They are herbaceous perennials growing from short, thick rhizomes. They have large leaves that are somewhat triangular, with long fleshy petioles. They have small flowers grouped in large compound leafy greenish-white to rose-red inflorescences.
The cardoon also called the artichoke thistle, cardone, cardoni, carduni or cardi, is a thistle-like plant in the family Asteraceae. It is the naturally occurring form of the same species as the globe artichoke, and has many cultivated varieties. It is native to the western and central Mediterranean region, where it was domesticated in ancient times.
Asparagus is a spring vegetable, a flowering perennial plant species in the genus Asparagus. It was once classified in the lily family, like its Allium cousins, onions and garlic, but the Liliaceae have been split and the onion-like plants are now in the family Amaryllidaceae and asparagus in the Asparagaceae. Asparagus officinalis is native to most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia, and is widely cultivated as a vegetable crop.
Bamboo shoots or bamboo sprouts are the edible shoots (new bamboo culms that come out of the ground) of many bamboo species. They are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths. They are sold in various processed shapes, and are available in fresh, dried, and canned versions.
The word “potato” may refer to the plant itself in addition to the edible tuber. In the Andes, where the species is indigenous, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species. Potatoes were introduced outside the Andes region four centuries ago, and have become an integral part of much of the world’s food supply. It is the world’s fourth-largest food crop, following maize, wheat and rice.
The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens.
Taro is a common name for the corms and tubers of several plants in the Araceae family. Of these, Colocasia esculenta is the most widely cultivated and the subject of this article. More specifically, this article describes the “dasheen” form of taro; another variety of taro is known as eddoe.
Yam is the common name for some plant species in the genus Dioscorea (family Dioscoreaceae) that form edible tubers. These are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania. There are many cultivars of yam.
The carrot is a root vegetable, usually orange in colour, though purple, red, white, and yellow varieties exist. It has a crisp texture when fresh. The most commonly eaten part of a carrot is a taproot, although the greens are sometimes eaten as well.
The parsnip is a root vegetable closely related to the carrot. It is a biennial plant usually grown as an annual. Its long tuberous root has cream-colored skin and flesh and can be left in the ground when mature as it becomes sweeter in flavor after winter frosts. In its first growing season, the plant has a rosette of pinnate, mid-green leaves. If unharvested, it produces its flowering stem, topped by an umbel of small yellow flowers, in its second growing season.
The beetroot, also known in North America as the table beet, garden beet, red or golden beet, or informally simply as the beet, refers to any of the cultivated varieties of beet (Beta vulgaris) grown for their edible taproots, especially B. vulgaris L. subsp. conditiva. They are among the most commonly encountered varieties in North America, Central America, and Europe.
The radish is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. They are grown and consumed throughout the world. Radishes have numerous varieties, varying in size, color and duration of required cultivation time.
The rutabaga, swede (from Swedish turnip), turnip, yellow turnip, or neep (Brassica napobrassica, or Brassica napus var. napobrassica, or Brassica napus subsp. rapifera) is a root vegetable that originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip; see Triangle of U. The roots are prepared for human food in a variety of ways, and the leaves can be eaten as a leaf vegetable.
The turnip or white turnip is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock.
The onion also known as the bulb onion or common onion, is used as a vegetable and is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. This genus also contains several other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion (A. fistulosum), the Egyptian onion (A. ×proliferum), and the Canada onion (A. canadense). The onion is most frequently a biennial or a perennial plant, but is usually treated as an annual and harvested in its first growing season.
The shallot is a botanical variety of the species Allium cepa, to which the multiplier onion also belongs. The shallot was formerly classified as a separate species, A. ascalonicum, a name now considered a synonym of the currently accepted name.
Garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. With a history of human use of over 7,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
Fruits Used as Vegetables
The tomato is the edible, often red fruit/berry of the tomato plant. The species originated in the South American Andes and its use as a food originated in Mexico, and spread throughout the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Its many varieties are now widely grown, sometimes in greenhouses in cooler climates.
Cucumber is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family. It is a creeping vine that bears cylindrical fruits that are used as culinary vegetables. There are three main varieties of cucumber: slicing, pickling, and burpless. Within these varieties, several different cultivars have emerged. The cucumber is originally from Southern Asia, but now grows on most continents. Many different varieties are traded on the global market.
Cucurbita or Squash (Latin for gourd) is a genus in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae. The Cucurbita genus is an important source of human food and is used for other purposes such as beverages, medicine, oil, and detergent. Some Cucurbita species were brought to Europe after the discovery of America and are now used in many parts of the world.
The zucchini or courgette is a summer squash which can reach nearly a meter in length, but which is usually harvested at half that size or less. Along with certain other squashes and pumpkins, it belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. Zucchini can be dark or light green. A related hybrid, the golden zucchini, is a deep yellow or orange color.
Pumpkin refers to certain cultivars of squash, most commonly those of Cucurbita pepo, that are round, with smooth, slightly ribbed skin and deep yellow to orange coloration. The thick shell contains the seeds and pulp. Some exceptionally large cultivars of squash with similar appearance have also been derived from Cucurbita maxima.
Peppers or Capsicum is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Its species are native to the Americas, where they have been cultivated for thousands of years. In modern times, it is cultivated worldwide, and has become a key element in many regional cuisines. In addition to use as spices and food vegetables, capsicum has also found use in medicines.
The fruit of Capsicum plants have a variety of names depending on place and type. The piquant (spicy) variety are commonly called chili peppers, or simply “chilies”. The large mild form is called red pepper, green pepper or bell pepper in North America and typically just “capsicum” in New Zealand, Australia, and India. The fruit is called paprika in some other countries (although paprika can also refer to the powdered spice made from various capsicum fruit).
Eggplant is a species of nightshade commonly known in British English as aubergine and also known as melongene, garden egg, or guinea squash. It bears a fruit of the same name (commonly either “eggplant” in American and Australian English or “aubergine” in British English) that is widely used in cooking, most notably as an important ingredient in dishes such as moussaka and ratatouille.
The tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica) is a plant of the nightshade family, related to the Cape gooseberry, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos originated in Mexico, and are a staple of that country’s cuisine. They are grown as annuals throughout the Western Hemisphere. Tomatillos are frequently eaten fried, boiled, or steamed. The leaves are also used to treat urinary tract infections.
Chayote is originally native to Mexico or Central America where it grows abundantly and has little commercial value, and it has been introduced as a crop all over Latin America, and worldwide. Chayote is an edible plant belonging to the gourd family along with melons, cucumbers and squash.
Okra known in many English-speaking countries as ladies’ fingers, bhindi, bamia, or gumbo, is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins. The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world.
Breadfruit is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family, Moraceae, growing throughout Southeast Asia and most Pacific Ocean islands. It is also grown in the Leeward Islands and Windward Islands of the Caribbean. Its name is derived from the texture of the cooked fruit, which has a potato-like flavor, similar to freshly baked bread.
The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree native to Mexico and Central America,classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel. Avocado or alligator pear also refers to the fruit, botanically a large berry that contains a single seed.
Green beans, also known as string bean, snap bean in the northeastern and western United States, or ejotes in Mexico, are the unripe fruit of various cultivars of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Green bean cultivars have been selected especially for the fleshiness, flavor, or sweetness of their pods.
The snow pea is a legume, more specifically a variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe. The name mangetout (French for “eat all”) can apply both to snow peas and to snap peas.