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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 Contenido (Mostrando Ediciones 3000 - 3000) |

Macadamia tetraphylla - Macadamia, Rough Shelled Bush Nut

Edible Portion: Seeds Kernel, Nuts

A tree which grows 8-15 m high. It spreads to 6-8 m wide. It has a spreading bushy habit. Young growth is red. Young leaves are coarsely toothed. The leaves are 6-30 cm long by 2-5 cm wide. They occur in whorls or rings of 3-5 leaves but usually 4 in a ring. The leaves are stiff and dark green. There are coarse spines on the edge of the leaf. The flowers are in dense stalks 15 -45 cm long which hang down from the axils of leaves. The flowers are 1 cm long and slender. They are pink or white and densely hairy. The fruit are 2-3.5 cm across and green and leathery. The nuts are the same size. They are brown and rough. (It produces natural hybrids with Macadamia integrifolia.)

Moringa drouhardii - Madagascar Moringa

Edible Portion: Seeds, Leaves

A bottle shaped tree.

It is a tropical plant. It grows in limestone regions.

Pachira aquatica - Guiana Chestnut, Water Chestnut

Edible Plants: Flowers, Leaves, Seeds

An evergreen tree. It grows to a height of 7-18 m with a spread of 3 m. The trunk is erect and branches heavily. The leaves are large and compound like the fingers on a hand. There are up to 9 leaflets. The leaflets can be 30 cm long. The leaves are dark green and shiny. The flowers are cream with bright red tips. The petals are long and droop outwards. It is the red tips of the stamens that look like a shaving brush which gives it one of its common names. The flowers occur in long hanging groups. The flowers are short lived opening in the morning and falling by evening. The fruit is like a round pod. It can be 30 long and 15 cm across. The pod bursts open when ripe. The pod opens in about 5 sections. The seeds are round and 1-2 cm across. They are brown. They have a fleshy pulp. It is a good shade tree but other plants will not grow under it.

Perilla frutescens - Perilla, Beefsteak Plant

Edible Portion: Leaves, Seeds - spice, Flowers, Seeds - oil, Vegetable

An erect herb. It re-grows each year. It grows from 30 cm to 2 m tall. The stems are square. Plants can be green or purple. The leaf stalk is 3-5 cm long. The leaves are oval and 4.5-10 cm long by 2.8-10 cm wide. They are toothed along the edge. Leaves are hairy on both surfaces. The flowers are white. They are in equal stalked flower clusters either in the axils of leaves or at the ends of branches. The fruit is a 1-seeded nutlet. There are a range of cultivated varieties.

Pimenta racemosa - Bay Tree, Bay Rum Tree

Edible Portion: Leaves - oil, Berries, Spice

An evergreen tree. It grows 13 m tall. The bark is brownish. The leaves are leathery and oblong. They are 8-10 cm long and 1 -6 cm wide. There are 10-20 pairs of secondary veins. The flowers are small and white. They occur as 15-100 in a group. The tree has an aroma. The fruit are round and 5-15 mm wide. There are 1-4 seeds.

Pinus elliotti - Slash Pine

Edible Portion: Seeds, Nuts, Needles, Bark

A pine tree.

It is a temperate plant.

Piper interruptum - Opiz

Edible Portion: Stem

A slender vine. The stem is 2 cm across. The leaves are 8-12 cm long by 4-7 cm wide. The leaf stalk is 1-1.5 cm long. The flowers are opposite the leaves. The flowering shoots are 7-9 cm long.

Pyrostegia venusta - Flaming Trumpet, Flame Vine, Golden Shower

Edible Portion: Flowers

A woody vine. It is fast growing and keeps its leaves throughout the year. The leaves are compound with 2 or 3 oval leaflets. The leaves are in opposite pairs along the stem. The central leaflet can be a coiled tendril. The flowers are reddish-orange. They are tube shaped and 9 cm long. They are in clusters or 15-20 at the tips of the branches. The flower clusters often hang down. The fruit are slender dry capsules about 25 cm long.

Ravenala madagascariensis - Traveller's Palm, Traveller's Tree

Edible Portion: Seeds, Leaves, Cabbage, Seed Oil

An evergreen shrub. It grows to 10-16 m high and spreads to 3-6 m across. The stem is erect, formed by the bases of the old leaves. It is palm like. The leaves are arranged in 2 opposite rows on long leaf stalks which form sheaths around the stem. They are 5 m long, are closely overlapping and open like fans. They are paddle shaped. The flowers are white and have 3 petals. They occur in long spikes and have boat shaped bracts in the axils. The fruit capsules contain seeds with a bright blue seed covering (aril). The seeds are edible.

Salvia hispanica - Chia, Mexican Chia

Edible portion: Leaves, Seeds, Seeds - oil

A small herb. Plants grow up to 1 m tall. It grows each year from seed. The leaves are opposite and 5-8 cm long and 3-5 cm wide. There are notches along the edges. The flowers are small and blue. They are in a spike at the top.