Root and tuber crops contain large amounts of starch, which is their chief contribution to the diet. Perennials generally contribute some protein to the diet as well as starch, though this varies among species. Many roots and tubers contain toxic substances or anti-nutritional substances and must be cooked before eating. (See the Technical Note "Introduction to Root Crops" for more information.)


  1. Turnip Brassica rapa var. rapifera

    Turnip, Turnip Greens, Turnip Rape, Field Mustard

    Turnips are a cruciferous crop (cabbage family) grown for the edible fleshy taproot. The leaves are also a good nutritious green leafy vegetable. There are also varieties that have been developed as a forage crop.
  2. Wild Mung Bean Vigna vexillata

    Wild Mung Bean, Zombie Pea, Wild Cowpea

    Wild mung bean is a perennial, vining, nitrogen-fixing plant with edible beans and tubers. This plant is rarely cultivated but rather pods and tubers are collected from wild plants. It has potential for human food, as well as a green manure or cover crop.
  3. Beets Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris

    Beets, Beetroot, Garden Beet

    Garden Beets, also called beetroot, are a hardy, cool-season root crop with edible leaves and a fleshy, tap root. The most common beets are deep red throughout but there are varieties that are yellow, white or mixed. The roots are a source of calories and the leaves are a good source of fiber...
  4. Carrot Daucus carota var. sativus

    Carrot

    Carrots have been a cultivated crop in Western Asia since the 10th century A.D. They were originally used only medicinally. In general, Carrots are a crop for temperate climates. The Danvers 126 variety, a 60-70 day variety performs well, in heavy, clay soils. Scarlet Nantes is an open pollinated...
  5. High Carotene Carrot Daucus carota var. sativus ‘ Beta III’

    High Carotene Carrot, Beta Iii

    Wild carrots (Daucus carota) are native in Western Europe, the Near East, and the Mediterranean region. Wild carrots now are widely distributed in temperate Europe, Asia, and in parts of Africa, Australia, and the Americas. It has become a common weed species in croplands in many portions of its...
  6. Jicama Pachyrhizus erosus

    Jicama, Yam Bean

    Jicama, or the Yam Bean, is native from Mexico to northern South America and has been cultivated since the time of the Aztecs. It is widely grown throughout these regions and in areas of the Philippines and south China.
  7. Leek Allium ampeloprasum

    Leek, Blue Leek, Great Headed Garlic, Levant Garlic

    Leeks are a close biennial relative of both onion and garlic, but do not form bulbs. Leaves are flat and large, when cooked they are milder in taste than onions, and are mainly used in soups and similar dishes.
  8. Potato Solanum tuberosum

    Potato

    The Potato originally comes from the Andes of South America. It has been cultivated there for centuries. Potatoes can be grown at most latitudes, but tend to get more diseases in hot and humid climates, such as those at low elevation in the tropics. There are around 5,000 varieties of Potatoes in...
  9. Radish Raphanus sativus

    Radish

    Radishes are found growing wild in Turkey, Palestine and Armenia. The white Radish is common and a staple food in Asia. Spain grows the black variety.
  10. Uberlandia Carrot Daucus carota var. sativus

    Uberlandia Carrot

    Most carrot varieties are temperate biennial plants requiring two years to complete the life cycle. Normally, a cold period during the dormant winter season is required for the first year plants to send up flowering stalks that produce flowers and seeds during the second growing season. Dr....