Root vegetables are underground plant parts eaten by humans as food. Although botany distinguishes true roots (such as taproots and tuberous roots) from non-roots (such as bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers, although some contain both hypocotyl and taproot tissue), the term "root vegetable" is applied to all these types in agricultural and culinary usage (see terminology of vegetables).
Root vegetables are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. They differ in the concentration and the balance among starches, sugars, and other types of carbohydrate. Of particular economic importance are those with a high carbohydrate concentration in the form of starch; starchy root vegetables are important staple foods, particularly in tropical regions, overshadowing cereals throughout much of Central Africa, West Africa and Oceania, where they are used directly or mashed to make foods such as fufu or poi.
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.
List of root vegetables
The following list classifies root vegetables organized by their roots' anatomy.
Modified plant stem
- Amorphophallus konjac (konjac)
- Colocasia esculenta (taro)
- Eleocharis dulcis (Chinese water chestnut)
- Ensete spp. (enset)
- Nymphaea spp. (waterlily)
- Pteridium esculentum
- Sagittaria spp. (arrowhead or wapatoo)
- Typha spp.
- Xanthosoma spp. (malanga, cocoyam, tannia, yautia and other names)
- Colocasia antiquorum (eddoe or Japanese potato)
- Tuberous stem
- Apios americana (hog potato or groundnut)
- Cyperus esculentus (tigernut or chufa)
- Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke or sunchoke)
- Hemerocallis spp. (daylily)
- Lathyrus tuberosus (earthnut pea)
- Oxalis tuberosa (oca or New Zealand yam)
- Plectranthus edulis and P. esculentus (kembili, dazo, and others)
- Solanum tuberosum (potato)
- Stachys affinis (Chinese artichoke or crosne)
- Tropaeolum tuberosum (mashua or añu)
- Ullucus tuberosus (ulluku)
- Zamia integrifolia (Florida arrowroot)
- Taproot (some types may incorporate substantial hypocotyl tissue)
- Arracacia xanthorrhiza (arracacha)
- Beta vulgaris (beet and mangelwurzel)
- Brassica spp. (kohlrabi, rutabaga and turnip)
- Bunium persicum (black cumin)
- Burdock (Arctium, family Asteraceae)
- Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus)
- Celeriac (Apium graveolens rapaceum)
- Daikon – the large East Asian white radish (Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus)
- Dandelion (Taraxacum) spp.
- Lepidium meyenii (maca)
- Microseris lanceolata (murnong or yam daisy)
- Pachyrhizus spp. (jicama and ahipa)
- Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)
- Petroselinum spp. (parsley root)
- Radish (Raphanus sativus)
- Scorzonera hispanica (black salsify)
- Sium sisarum (skirret)
- Tragopogon spp. (salsify)
- Vigna lanceolata (bush carrot or bush potato)
- Tuberous root
- Amorphophallus galbra (yellow lily yam)
- Conopodium majus (pignut or earthnut)
- Dioscorea spp. (yams, ube)
- Dioscorea polystachya (nagaimo, Chinese yam, Korean yam, mountain yam, white ñame)
- Hornstedtia scottiana (native ginger)
- Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)
- Ipomoea costata (desert yam)
- Manihot esculenta (cassava or yuca or manioc)
- Mirabilis expansa (mauka or chago)
- Psoralea esculenta (breadroot, tipsin, or prairie turnip)
- Smallanthus sonchifolius (yacón)
- 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.
- Armstrong, Wayne P. "Wayne's Word: Vegetables From Underground". Palomar College. Retrieved 16 January 2020.