First, what are vegetables and how many types of vegetables are there?
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 either eaten cooked or raw, as in salad preparations.
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.
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.
Another 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
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.
(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
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 that are edible and used in culinary preparation. These can also be grouped into two main divisions: vegetables with consummable vegetative parts (root, stem, and leafy vegetables) and those with edible reproductive parts (flower, fruit, and seed vegetables).
1. Root Vegetables – plants which are sources of edible roots, mainly modified underground roots, e.g., beets. These modified roots are either tuberous roots or fleshy roots.
Stem Vegetables – plants which are sources of edible botanical
stems which are usually immature and succulent. They can be divided
further into those plants in which the edible plant structure
consists mainly of aerial stems, e.g., bamboo shoot and those with
underground modified stems such as corms, tubers, bulbs, rhizomes, and stolons.
Leafy Vegetables – plants which are sources of edible leaves in
various stages of development. The leaves may be separate and fully
expanded or, as in cabbage, form a head. It includes, in some
species, succulent stems, e.g., sweet potato (camote tops).
Flower Vegetables – plants which are sources of edible flowers or
inflorescences including, in some species, accessory parts like the
stalk (pedicel or peduncle). In cauliflower, it consists of the stalk
and an immature inflorescence. But in squash, it is the mature
Fruit Vegetables – plants which are sources of edible botanical
fruits, either simple or compound, e.g., tomato and corn (maize)
6. Seed Vegetables – plants which are sources of edible botanical seeds, mostly under the family Leguminosae or Fabaceae (legumes), e.g., mung bean.
G. Bareja, June 16, 2015)
to go to next page: List of Vegetables: 1. Root Vegetables