List of Vegetables: III. Examples of Leafy Vegetables

Leafy vegetablesPechay is a leafy vegetable

Leafy vegetables or vegetable crops are plants which supply edible leaves in various stages of development for culinary use. The leaves may be separate and fully expanded or form a head. In some species, the leaves are cooked attached to segments of succulent stems.

Examples of these vegetables, without specifying geographical adaptation, are provided in the next table. For clarity, some examples are included even though their primary products are not the leaves. In such case, the inclusion is merely to inform that their leaves are likewise commonly utilized in the preparation of vegetable dishes.

Table LV-3. List of leafy vegetables, their common names, scientific names, botanical family, and other relevant information.

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

Leafy Vegetables

Amaranth, kulitis Amaranthus spinosus Amaranthaceae Amaranth family, includes Chenopodiaceae
Brussels sprouts Brassica oleracea, Gemmifera group Brassicaceae/Cruciferae Mustard family, also called Cole Crops and Crucifers; referred to as miniature cabbage
Cabbage Brassica oleracea, Capitata group Brassicaceae/Cruciferae Mustard family, also called Cole Crops and Crucifers
Celery Apium graveolens Apiaceae/Umbelliferae Carrot family
Charantia, bitter melon, bitter gourd, ampalaya Momordica charantia Cucurbitaceae Cucumber/Gourd family, cucurbits; primarily grown as fruit vegetable but the leaves and young stems (tops) are also eaten blanched or as ingredient in many vegetable dishes.
Chard, Swiss chard, leaf beet Beta vulgaris var. cicla Amaranthaceae Amaranth family, includes Chenopodiaceae
Chicory Cichorium intybus Asteraceae/Compositae Sunflower family
Chili pepper, hot pepper, siling-labuyo Capsicum frutescens Solanaceae Nightshade family, also called Solanaceous crops; the fruits are widely used as a spice but the leaves are also cooked as a vegetable
Chinese cabbage Brassica rapa var. pekinensis Brassicaceae/Cruciferae Mustard family, also called Cole Crops and Crucifers
Endive Cichorium endivia Brassicaceae/Cruciferae Mustard family, also called Cole Crops and Crucifers
Garden cress, peppercress Lepidium sativum Brassicaceae/Cruciferae Mustard family, also called Cole Crops and Crucifers
Jew's mallow, red jute, saluyot Corchorus olitorius Malvaceae Mallow family
Kale Brassica oleracea, Acephala group Brassicaceae/Cruciferae Mustard family, also called Cole Crops and Crucifers
Lettuce Lactuca sativa Asteraceae/Compositae Sunflower family
Moringa, malunggay Moringa oleifera Moringaceae Green pods and the flowers are also cooked as ingredient of some vegetable dishes.
Malabar nightshade, alugbate Basella rubra Basellaceae a coiling vine; young leaves are eaten as cooked vegetable including succulent stems
Mustard green, Oriental mustard, mustasa Brassica juncea Brassicaceae/Cruciferae Mustard family, also called Cole Crops and Crucifers
Pak choi, pechay Brassica rapa var. chinensis Brassicaceae/Cruciferae Mustard family, also called Cole Crops and Crucifers
Rhubarb Rheum rhaponticum Polygonaceae Buckwheat family
Spinach Spinacea oleracea Apiaceae/Umbelliferae Carrot family
Sweet potato (camote tops) Ipomoaea batatas Convolvulaceae Morning Glory/Bindweed family; Sweet potato is generally classified as a starchy root crop (under root and tuber crops) but some varieties are grown for the production of camote tops which consist of young leaves and a portion of the stem including the tips.
Taro, dasheen, gabi Colocasia esculenta Araceae Arum family; taro is generally classified as a starchy corm crop (under root and tuber crops) but some varieties are grown for their leaves and petioles (as well as stolons). One has pinkish leaves and petioles and is called “abalong” in some localities in the Philippines. Corms are small.
Vegetable fern, pako Diplazium esculentum syn. Athyrium esculentum Dryopteridaceae Dryopteroid family

REFERENCES

  1. HILL A. 1972. Economic Botany. 2nd ed. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. Ltd. 560 p.
  2. MERRILL E. 1912. Flora of Manila. Manila: Bureau of Printing. 491 p.
  3. PEEL L. 2004. HarperCollins Practical Gardener: Kitchen Garden. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. 176 p.
  4. SIMPSON MG. 2010. Plant Systematics. 2nd ed. San Diego, CA: Elsevier Inc. 740 p.
  5. The Essential Gardening Encyclopedia. 2003. San Francisco, CA: Fog City Press. 608 p.

(Ben G. Bareja, June 20, 2015)

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