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Root vegetable

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Carrot roots in various shapes and colors

Root vegetables are underground plant parts eaten by humans as food. In agricultural and culinary terminology, the term applies to true roots such as taproots and tuberous roots as well as non-roots such as bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and stem tubers.[1]


Root vegetables are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. They differ in the concentration and balance of starches, sugars, and other carbohydrates.

List of root vegetables[edit]

The following list classifies root vegetables organized by their roots' anatomy.

Modified plant stem[edit]

Taro corms
Ginger rhizomes
Yam tubers

Root-like stem[edit]

True root[edit]

Turnips, a taproot
Cassava tuberous roots


Many root vegetables keep well in root cellars, lasting several months. This is one way of storing food for use long after harvest, which is especially important in nontropical latitudes, where winter is traditionally a time of little to no harvesting. There are also season extension methods that can extend the harvest throughout the winter, mostly through the use of polytunnels.

Starchy root vegetables are of particular economic importance as staple foods, especially in tropical regions. They overshadow cereals throughout much of Central and West Africa, as well as Oceania, in these areas being used directly or mashed to make foods such as fufu or poi.


  1. ^ López Camelo, Andrés F. (2004). Manual for the Preparation and Sale of Fruits and Vegetables. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. p. 6. ISBN 92-5-104991-2. Retrieved 2009-07-31. However, in the case of potatoes (Figure 10), sweet potatoes, and other root vegetables, readiness for harvest is based on the percentage of tubers of a specific size. Potatoes are technically tubers, not roots, and sweet potatoes are tuberous roots.

External links[edit]