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.

bulbs

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

flowers

The edible flowers of certain vegetables.

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

fruits

Vegetable fruit are fleshy and contain seeds.

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

fungi

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

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

leaves

The edible leaves of plants.

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

roots

Usually a long or round-shaped taproot.

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

seeds

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

stems

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

e.g. asparagus, celery, kohlrabi

tubers

Vegetables which grow underground on the root of a plant.

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