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.
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 consideration such as the taxonomic classifications of the crops (e.g., by family or by genus), the part of 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.
There is no definite demarcation line between agronomic and horticultural crops. Both classifications can even apply to the same plant species due to differing criteria of classification.
For example, taro or gabi (Colocasia esculenta) is an agronomic crop being grown mainly as a starchy root, tuber and corm crop. However, it is also a horticultural crop because it is largely utilized as a vegetable.
is corn or maize (Zea mays). It is generally classified as an
agronomic crop and listed under cereals because it is primarily grown
for the harvesting of mature grains. But it can become a
horticultural and vegetable crop when, as in the case of sweet corn,
it is grown for green corn.
According to Hill (1972), the vegetables can be grouped into three broad classifications based on their botanical parts that are edible and location with respect to the ground. These are the earth vegetables, herbage vegetables, and fruit vegetables. Earth vegetables are those in which the edible parts are below the ground including modified roots and stems. Herbage vegetables are those with aboveground parts including stems, leaves, buds and flowers. Fruit vegetables are those in which the botanical fruits are usually cooked and rarely eaten raw except in salads.
gave examples of crops under each of these
three types of vegetables. However, these types are only broad
generalizations. It is noted also that he did not include seed
HarperCollins and Lucy Peel (2004) grouped different vegetables into the following eight main types: (1) salad vegetables, (2) fruiting vegetables, (3) squash vegetables, (4) shooting vegetables, (5) leafy vegetables, (6) pod and seed vegetables, (7) bulb vegetables, and (8) root vegetables. Within the household and circle of friends, these terms are likely easy to comprehend. However, it is not clear on what basis are these groupings made.Rimando (2004) simply defines vegetables as “crops usually grown for culinary purposes.” He gave examples of vegetable crops under the following classifications: (1) leafy vegetables, (2) cole crop or crucifers, (3) root and bulb crops, (4) legumes or pulses, (5) solanaceous vegetables, and (5) cucurbits. It is to be noted that these are a mixture of types of vegetables based on plant parts that are edible and on botanical family. Apparently these are mere examples of vegetable groupings, an introduction to a more detailed lecture.
To put more details on Hill's types of vegetables, six vegetable types are enumerated below.The classifications are based on the botanical plant parts or organs that are edible and used in culinary preparation. These can also be grouped into two main divisions: vegetables with edible vegetative parts (root, stem, and leafy vegetables) and those with edible reproductive parts (flower, fruit, and seed vegetables).
Based on their edible botanical parts, plants are grouped into the following types of vegetables:1. Root Vegetables – plants which are sources of edible roots, mainly modified underground roots, e.g., beets and sweet potato. These modified roots are either tuberous roots or fleshy roots.
(Ben G. Bareja, June 16, 2015)