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Some 3 billion people in the world live outside the cash economy in the world’s poorest nations. Food security and regular supply are their daily concerns. Chronic malnutrition is a leading cause of death and disease for them. Young children are amongst the most affected. One child every 5-10 seconds dies from undernutrition. Vitamin A deficiency causes night blindness for someone every minute. Most people in tropical and subtropical countries are iron deficient.

Our goal is to provide information that enables people to choose the right plant for their environment, to give them stable food production and a greater choice of plants to enrich their diets and improve their nutritional wellbeing.

The plant fact sheets listed in this collection are only a small portion of those available from FPI.   Please check your plant inquiries in the ECHO Search and reference the FPI plant database for further information.

Most of the plants selected to list here are further described in country-specific publications by Food Plant Solutions (FPS in the Search).


8000 Starchy Staples

7000 Legumes

6000 Leafy Greens

5000 Fruits

4000 Vegetables

3000 Nuts, Seeds, Herbs, and other foods


553 Issues in this Publication (Showing issues 3000 - 3000)

Phyllostachys nigra - Black Bamboo, Purple Bamboo

Edible Portion: Shoots

A large bamboo grass. It grows 1.5-3 m high and spreads 1.8-3 m wide. It can be 10-15 m tall and spread 6-15 m wide. It forms clumps. The canes arch over. The canes are green in the first year then turn mottled to almost black. The canes are hollow and can be 3 cm thick.

Phyllostachys vivax - Elegant Bamboo, Vivax Bamboo, Smooth

Edible Portion: Shoots

A large bamboo. It grows 9-18 m high and spreads 6-18 m wide. The culms are 10 cm thick. They are thin walled. The internodes are 25-35 cm long. There are 2 or 3 leaves on the last branch. The leaf blades are 9-18 cm long by 1-2 cm wide.

Terminalia catappa - Java almond, Coastal almond, Tropical almond, Sea almond, Indian almond


Edible parts : Kernel, Nuts, Nuts-oil, Fruit

A large tree up to 25-40 m tall. It loses its leaves during the year. The trunk can be straight or twisted. There can be buttresses up to 3 m tall. The branches lie horizontally and come out in layers. The leaves are long, smooth and shiny with an abrupt point at the tip and a rounded base. Leaves tend to be near the ends of branches. Leaves can be 17-29 cm long and 10-15 cm wide. Young leaves have soft hairs. The leaves turn red and fall off twice a year. Flowers are greenish white and in a spike at the end of the branches. The lower flowers on a spike are female, then the others are male. The fruit is about 6 cm long by 3-4 cm wide, thick and flattened with a flange around the edge. The fruit are green and turn red when ripe. The pulp is edible.


Distribution: A tropical plant. This tree occurs on the beach front in most tropical countries in the world. They are sometimes cultivated as a shade tree. The tree is common in lowland areas particularly on sandy or rocky beaches. Seeds are spread by both bats and sea water as well as being planted by people. Trees are common along streets in coastal towns. They will grow from sea level up to about 800 m altitude. In PNG it is mostly below 300 m altitude. It can grow with a soil pH of 4.0-8.5. Plants are frost tender. They can tolerate drought. It grows in areas with a temperature range of 17-32°C. It suits hardiness zones 11-12.