Enokitake (or Enoki) is an edible mushroom. The cultivated variety is a bundle of long thin white mushrooms. They are white because they are not exposed to light. In the wild, the mushroom looks different with a brown color, shorter and thicker stems, and bigger caps.
The category “Leaf vegetables” includes plants of which the leaves are used as food. Well known leaf vegetables are lettuce and spinach. Some leaf vegetables (e.g. lettuce) are consumed raw, while others are cooked. Most common leaf vegetables come from short-lived herbaceous plants (e.g. lettuce), but also many trees and woody plants have edible leaves.
The “Vegetables” category in the World Crops Database includes edible plants that are grown as a food crop for their leaves, stems, roots, tubers, bulbs, corms, pods or flowers, but plants that are only grown for their sweet fruit or for seeds or grains are not included. Also plants that are consumed in smaller quantities,
Jicama is a vine with edible tuberous root which can be eaten raw. After peeling the skin the tuberous roots look a bit like potato and have a watery but fresh taste.
The seeds of the plant are toxic as they contain rotenone, which is a pesticide used to kill insects and fish.
The Indian Screw Tree is a shrub which can be found in Asia (India, South china, Thailand, Malaysia, Java) and Australia. The fruits are pods that are twisted like a screw with a pointed tip.
This plant is sometimes classified in the Malvaceae family but sometimes in a different family: Sterculiaceae.
Fruits come in many shapes, sizes, tastes and of course colors. Painters often select a colorful display of fruits for their still life paintings. But also people carrying fruit baskets are popular topics in art. The following is a small gallery of paintings dedicated to fruits.
Kapok or Ceiba is a large tropical tree which produces a type of cotton. These fibers are the hairs that grow on the seeds and are used as a filling in mattresses, pillows, padding of seats, stuffed toys, and for insulation.
Kapok originates from Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean.
Irises are flowering plants in the genus Iris which includes many wild and cultivated species. The flowers are gold-yellow, yellow, white, blue, or purple, but cultivated varieties can have different colors (pink, orange, etc.).
Cultivated irises are used as ornamental plants in gardens or as cut flowers.
Jojoba is a shrub which is grown for the jojoba oil, a liquid wax in its seeds.
The jojoba oil has various uses for example as lubricating oil, in pharmaceutical products, as bio-diesel fuel, or cooking oil.
Jojoba originates from North America and is cultivated in desert and semi-desert regions.
The FAOstat website provides production statistics for a wide range of crops and is updated every year. This post explores which are the crops with the highest global production. Crops are grouped in cereals, fruits, vegetables, pulses, fibers, and other categories.
Four species in the genus Zizania are known as wild rice, but they should not be confused with Asian rice (Oryza sativa), which is a plant in a different genus.
Of all species the grains can be used as a cereal, but the Manchurian wild rice is nowadays mainly cultivated in China to use the thickened stems as a vegetable.
Fonio or White fonio (Digitaria exilis) is a cereal crop grown in the savannas of West Africa. It has very small seeds and is therefore one of the cereals that are called “millets”. Sometimes it is called “hungry rice”.
A related species Digitaria iburua is called Black fonio.
Many vegetables are produced and traded all over the world, but which one is the most common? If we look at the weight (kilos) produced, tomatoes are the most popular vegetable in the world, followed by dry onions, cabbages and other brassicas, and cucumbers.
The plow (or plough) is a basic instrument in agriculture and has been in use for thousands of years. Initially land was prepared with simple digging sticks or hoes. The first plows that were used were human powered, but when animals became domesticated plowing became easier with the use of horses and cattle.
Daisies are flowers with a yellow center with white petals. They are often seen growing wild in lawns.
But daisies are also cultivated, for example as ground cover in gardens.
Daisy young leaves are edible and can be used raw in salads or cooked. Also flower buds and petals are edible and can be used in salads or soups or as a tea.
Spelt is a primitive type of wheat. It is an annual plant in the grasses family (Poaceae) which was already cultivated as a cereal 8 – 9,000 years ago.
Spelt wheat originates from the Fertile Crescent of the Near East, the same region where also other early cereals such as emmer wheat and barley were grown.
Sweetleaf or Stevia is a plant originating from South America. It is known for its sweet leaves, which are used to make sweeteners, which are also known as “stevia”.
In Brazil and Paraguay the leaves have been in use for hundreds of years, not only as sweetener but also as a traditional medicine.
Often considered a weed, the common dandelian can also be used as a medical herb and as food. Dandelion leaves can be collected from the wild but are also sometimes grown to be used as a leaf vegetable. Young leaves and unopened buds are used raw in salads. Older leaves are cooked.