List of Vegetables: II. Examples of Stem Vegetables

Stem vegetables (vegetable crops) are those plants from which edible botanical stems are harvested for use in culinary preparations. They can be divided further into those with edible stems that are above ground and those with modified underground stems. Swollen modified stems, such as bulbs, tubers, corms, and rhizomes, serve as main food storage organs.

Crop plants which are grown for their starchy roots, tubers and corms are called root and tuber crops which are generally placed under the domain of agronomy. But as to human consumption, they can be considered vegetables under horticulture.

Examples of these vegetable crops, without considering geographical adaptation, are provided in the table below. The botanical names, family, and other relevant information are supplied. The names of the underground storage organs of root and tuber crops were checked with the list provided by Kawakami (1978) and the current family names were confirmed with Simpson (2010).

Take note that the listed stem vegetables belonging to the same botanical family have the same kind of modified underground stem.

Table LV-2. List of stem vegetables with their scientific names, family, and other information.

CROP NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME FAMILYCOLLECTIVE NAME FOR MEMBERS
OF THE FAMILY, OTHER INFO

Stem Vegetables


Examples of stem vegetables with edible aboveground stems:
Asparagus Asparagus officinalis Asparagaceae Asparagus family, but formerly under Liliaceae (Merrill 1912); the edible part is the young shoot commonly called “spear,” best consumed when the tip is still tightly closed.
Bamboos various species Poaceae/Gramineae Grass family; the edible part is the young, newly emerged shoot.
Kohlrabi Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes Brassicaceae/Cruciferae Mustard family, also called Cole Crops and Crucifers; the main consummable plant part is the basal stem which forms a spherical structure.
Potato vine, kangkong Ipomoea aquatica Convolvulaceae Morning Glory/Bindweed family; both stems and leaves are eaten cooked or blanched.

With edible modified underground stem called bulb:
Chive Allium schoenoprasum Amaryllidaceae Amaryllis family; formely under Liliaceae (Lily family, Merrill 1912) but Simpson (2010) preferred it under Alliaceae (Onion family or alliaceous crops); Alliaceae has been placed within an expanded Amaryllidaceae by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III (APG III, 2009).
Garlic Allium sativum Amaryllidaceae Amaryllis family
Allium porrum Amaryllidaceae Amaryllis family
Onion Allium cepa Amaryllidaceae Amaryllis family
Shallot Allium cepa, Aggregatum group Amaryllidaceae Amaryllis family

With edible modified underground stem called tuber:
Jerusalem artichoke Helianthus tuberosus Asteraceae/Compositae Sunflower or Aster family
Potato Solanum tuberosum Solanaceae Nightshade family, also called Solanaceous crops
Yam, ube Dioscorea alata Dioscoreaceae Yam family
Asiatic yam, tugui, apali, tam-is Dioscorea hispida Dioscoreaceae Yam family

With edible modified underground stem called corm:
Taro, gabi Colocasia esculenta Araceae Arum family; some varieties are grown for their edible leaves and petioles and modified stems (stolons)
Yautia, tannia, bisol, karlang, palauan Xanthosoma sagittifolium Araceae Arum family

REFERENCES

  1. HILL A. 1972. Economic Botany. 2nd ed. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. Ltd. 560 p.
  2. KAWAKAMI K. 1978. Physiology of yield of underground storage organs. In: Gupta US, ed. Crop Physiology. New Delhi: Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. p. 269-309.
  3. MERRILL E. 1912. Flora of Manila. Manila: Bureau of Printing. 491 p.
  4. PEEL L. 2004. HarperCollins Practical Gardener: Kitchen Garden. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. 176 p.
  5. SIMPSON MG. 2010. Plant Systematics. 2nd ed. San Diego, CA: Elsevier Inc. 740 p.
  6. The Essential Gardening Encyclopedia. 2003. San Francisco, CA: Fog City Press. 608 p.

(Ben G. Bareja, June 20, 2015)

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