Classification of Vegetables

Vegetables are classified according to which part of the plant is eaten. Some vegetables may fall into more than one category when more than one part of the plant is eaten, e.g. both the roots and leaves of beetroot can be eaten.


Usually grow just below the surface of the ground and produce a fleshy, leafy shoot above ground. Bulbs usually consist of layers or clustered segments.

e.g. onion, shallot, garlic, spring onion, leek, fennel


The edible flowers of certain vegetables.

e.g. cauliflower, broccoli, gaai laan (Chinese sprouting broccoli), broccoflower, globe artichoke


Vegetable fruit are fleshy and contain seeds.

e.g. egg plant, capsicum, courgette, okra, pumpkin, tomato, choko, scallopini


When referring to vegetables, fungi are commonly known as mushrooms.

e.g. button, flats, shitake, oyster, gourmet brown, wood ear, enokitaki, truffle


The edible leaves of plants.

e.g. bok choy, cabbage, lettuce, silver beet, spinach, witloof, puha


Usually a long or round-shaped taproot.

e.g. carrot, turnip, beetroot, swede, radish, parsnip, celeriac


Also know as legumes, seeds are usually obtained from pods. The pod is sometimes eaten along with the seed.

e.g. broad been, French bean, pea, snow pea, snake beans, butter beans


The edible stalks of plants when the stalk is the main part of the vegetable.

e.g. asparagus, celery, kohlrabi


Vegetables which grow underground on the root of a plant.

e.g. potato, kumara, yam, taro, Jerusalem artichoke, Maori potato.