What Is a Crop vs. Weeds in Agriculture: A Perspective!

What is a crop? What are crops? What are weeds?

These are elementary questions and for those who have undertaken a formal study of the basics of agriculture, they may seem to be unnecessary questions.

Are they?

Nonetheless, for beginners at least, it is important to be clarified on the terms.

The clarification becomes more relevant in view of the increasing concerns on the environment and biodiversity conservation.

It is in connection with these concerns that cutting trees has become an issue of absolute right or wrong.

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The Different Types of Vegetables, Grouping Based on Edible Botanical Organs

First, what are vegetables and how many types of vegetables may there be?

For clarity, the term vegetables or vegetable crops is here meant to refer to a classification of agricultural crops under horticulture.

These crops are plants having edible parts that are used in culinary preparations either cooked or raw, as in salad recipes.

Fruit vegetables: cucumber, string bean, eggplant, okra and squash; and carrot as root vegetable
Fruit vegetables: cucumber, string bean, eggplant, okra, and squash; and carrot as a root vegetable

As to how many types, groupings, or classifications of vegetables are there, there can be no definitive answer.

Just like food recipes, there can be too many.

The classifications can vary depending on various considerations such as the taxonomic classifications of the crops (e.g., by family or by genus), the part of the plant that is edible (e.g., root vs. stem), and its stage of development (mature vs. young), their particular use in culinary preparation (for example, cooked vs. uncooked), the degree of detail that any distinction seeks to express, and who talks to who.

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Caveat: Common Plant Names

Common plant names or common names of plants, also called vernacular names, local names, and country names, are the names used to refer to specific plants as contrasted to scientific names, botanical plant names, or Latin names.

Their usage may be restricted to a small tribe having a unique dialect, a province, a region, or a country.

Others, often in English, are used with wide international recognition, such as rice, coconut, and banana.

Many publications separate the English common names from the vernacular names, for example, Common names: rice (Engl.), palay (Tag.), humay (Ceb.).

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List of Tropical Fruits (M-T)

This list of tropical fruits is the second of two web pages.

This page enumerates tropical fruit crops with common names arranged in alphabetical order from M to T.

Other common names of the species, scientific names, and botanical families are provided or referred to see another crop name is indicated.

Those with common names starting from A to L are enumerated on page 1 list of fruits.

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List of Sugar Crops, Sweeteners Distinguished

Sugar crops are plants that are natural sources of the sweet substance called sugar in large quantities.

These natural sweeteners are found in or extracted from different organs such as the roots of sugarbeet, tubers of Jerusalem artichoke, the stems of sugarcane, sorghum, and sugar maple, inflorescences of certain palms, the grains of corn, and many fruits (Hill 1972).

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What Is Agronomy, Perspectives on Reference to Field Crops

What is agronomy?

This is another question that is as important as “what is horticulture?” in relation to the study and practice of plant agriculture.

For those who desire to specialize in either agronomy or horticulture, the two main divisions of crop production, it is important to be able to distinguish between the two, or at least learn when both terms may apply to the same crop, or when an outright answer has to be deferred.

It will be embarrassing to find oneself stammering when suddenly asked to explain what is agronomy or required to give its definition (or horticulture, or agriculture).

Familiarity with the terms and their scope will also simplify literature research.

For example, anyone who wishes to find information on cereal crops can likely find the same from books on agronomy rather than on horticulture.

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Back to What Is Horticulture

What is horticulture?

This is a common question that confronts both students and workers in plant agriculture.

Indeed, it is important to be able to distinguish between the two main divisions of crop production, horticulture, and agronomy, in order to acquire a better theoretical understanding and skills in either specialized field.

The proper delineation of the two divisions will likewise facilitate efforts in research and development directed at certain groups of plants.

What is horticulture
Production of spices and vegetables is under horticulture

However, it is quite impossible to give an exact definition of horticulture.

Neither is it easy to enumerate its scope with definiteness.

Nonetheless, substantial enlightenment on the concept, scope, and definition of horticulture can be obtained from the writing of various authorities in the field.

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What Are Cereal Crops and Pseudocereals, Examples

Cereal crops are interchangeably called grain crops.

In many publications and correspondence, they are simply called grains or cereals.

As of 2012, the top 5 cereals in the world ranked on the basis of production tonnage are maize (corn), rice (paddy), wheat, barley, and sorghum.

These crops are also among the top 50 agricultural commodities in the world with maize ranking second next to sugarcane.

Rice (paddy) ranks third, wheat – 4th, barley – 12th, and sorghum – 30th. Another cereal, millet, ranks no. 42 (FAOStat 2014, updated Aug. 18, 2014).

According to Chapman and Carter (1976), “a cereal is generally defined as a grass grown for its small, edible seed.”

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What Is Agriculture, Definition of Agriculture

There are many online queries on what is agriculture although its history started more than 10,000 years ago.

I used to think that this is quite amazing because the word agriculture is of common usage.

On second thought, I now realize that this seemingly high interest in clarifying the term is justified in view of its large coverage, its varied application as a science, practice, business, and for other purposes including legal matters, and with new technologies and specialized fields continuously added into its fold.

I use one definition as a compressed answer to the main question “What is Agriculture?

It is thus described as both an art and a science (needs skill and is founded on scientifically verified facts) and thus includes specialized disciplines; the words “growing” and “raising” are descriptive of enterprise, activity, or practice.

It has two main divisions: plant or crop production and animal or livestock production.

And its ultimate purpose is for food production, other human needs such as clothing, medicines, tools, artistic display, dwelling, and feed for animals, or for economic gain or profit. 

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