Agriculture classification of crops

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There are many systems of classification of crops for example commercial, taxonomical and agricultural among the agriculture classification of corrupt crops is most widely accepted because it is commonly it covers the taxonomical and commercial and other aspects.

Taxonomical classification deals with the taxonomical aspects of classifying aspects of crops—that is their morphology and economical parts and agro-botanical characters.

Advantage: understanding of the morphological characters of any particular family

Disadvantage: crops with different economic uses and morphological and other agro-botanical peculiarities when brought under one family do not generally bring out the economic importance of the individual crops.

Commercial classification[edit]

Plants are classified according to the commercial purposes as Food crops, Industrial crops, Food adjuncts

Food crops - cereals – Rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, ragi, Pulses, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts

Industrial crop - Cotton, Sugarcane, tobacco, groundnut, castor, gingelly, tapioca, etc.

Food adjuncts - No distinct demarcation – food and Industrial usage. spices and condiments, beverages and narcotics

Disadvantage: It is possible that one crop which has been included as a food crop may figure also as an industrial crop.

e.g. maize or tapioca.

A better classification is the agricultural classification.

Agricultural classification[edit]

Use of plants and plant products to man


Ceres - the Roman Goddess of harvest

Wheat and barley were generally the offerings - called Cerealia munera

Subsequently, the grains used for food, especially for making bread were called Cerealia or cereals

Applicable to the grains obtained from the members of the family Poaceae.

E.g. Rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, ragi, barley, pearl millet, fox-tail millet, rye, oats, etc.

Millets - number of small grained cereals which are of minor importance as food.

Pseudo-cereals - plants other than those of Poaceae

E.g. Buckwheat (Fagopyrum spp - Chenopodiaceae), Grain amaranths (Amaranthus spp.-Amaranthaceae), Quina (Chenopodium quinoa - Chenopodiaceae


Important source of human food - next to the cereals. The term pulse is used for the seeds of leguminous plants.

Pulses supply proteins and form chief source in vegetarian food. Leguminous plants fix nitrogen in root nodules - produced with the help of nitrogen fixing bacteria.

Seeds, pods, leaves and the shoots also contain a high proportion of protein e.g. Red gram, black gram, green gram.

Oils and oilseeds[edit]

Important both for consumption and industrial purposes.

In the human diet, the fat portion is supplied by oils, which give the necessary energy for metabolism, besides adding taste to the food.

Medicinal Value

Industrial uses: preparation of soaps, cosmetics and lubrication


The grasses and legumes which are grown in arable land and left for animals to graze-on.

The straw of paddy and cholam and dry plants of pulse crops and groundnut form important forages.

The foliage of a number of trees and shrubs which are edible to animals form another source of forage especially in dry areas and during the periods of scarcity.

Green manures and green-leaf manures[edit]

Growing of special crops for adding organic matter and nitrogen to the soil and by ploughing them in situ is called green manuring.

  • Sunhemp
  • Pillipesara
  • Kolingi
  • Indigo
  • Sesbania speciosa

Sugars and starches[edit]

Sugar is extracted from sugarcane. It contains sugar content in the bark similarly it is extracted from sugar beet and palm.


Starch is extracted from cassava/tapioca.


There are trees found in most parts of the world but mostly Africa that make or provide rubber for human uses. Examples of such are appliances within us i.e light bulb

Spices and condiments[edit]




1. Botany of Tropical Crops - Dr. V. Chellamuthu 2. Economic Botany by Kochhar