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Apple: Topic Page
Any of numerous varieties of a small deciduous tree with pink or white flowers and edible fruit.
Apricot: Topic Page
A sweet-sour fruit, the apricot (Prunus armeniaca) was long viewed as a kind of plum - and one that came from Armenia. In truth, it is a stone fruit (a drupe) of the same family as the peach, plum, almond, nectarine, and cherry and apparently originated (despite its scientific name) in China, where it has been cultivated for some 5,000 years.
Avocado: Topic Page
An evergreen tree growing to 18 m/60 ft (Persea americana), covered with aromatic oil glands, thought to be native to Central America.
Banana: Topic Page
Name for several species of the genus Musa and for the fruits these produce. The banana plant—one of the largest herbaceous plants—is said to be native to tropical Asia, but is now cultivated throughout the tropics.
Bramble: Topic Page
This complex genus of the family Rosaceae (rose family), with representatives in many parts of the world, includes the blackberries, raspberries, loganberries, boysenberries, and dewberries.
Cherry: Topic Page
The small, round red to black fruits are botanically designated drupes, or stone fruits, as are those of the closely related peach, apricot, and plum. The cherry is one of the most commonly grown home-orchard fruits. About 600 varieties are cultivated, practically all derived from two species—P. avium (sweet cherries) and P. cerasus (sour cherries).
Citrus: Topic Page
A member of a group of plants bearing distinctive juicy, acid-tasting fruits of great economic importance.
Coconut: Topic Page
Fruit of the coco palm (Cocos nucifera), a tree widely distributed through tropical regions. The seed is peculiarly adapted to dispersal by water because the large pod holding the nut is buoyant and impervious to moisture.
Cranberries: Topic Page
Of the same genus as the blueberry, the cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is a North American shrub that is so named because its flower stamens resemble a beak - hence “crane berry,” a name (which subsequently became “cranberry”) assigned to it by the early European settlers in New England.
Fig: Topic Page
This large genus contains some 800 species of widely varied tropical vines (some of which are epiphytic); shrubs; and trees, including the banyan, the peepul, or bo tree, and the India-rubber tree.
Grape: Topic Page
Common name for the Vitaceae, a family of mostly climbing shrubs, widespread in tropical and subtropical regions and extending into the temperate zones.
From The Columbia Encyclopedia pomelo pŏm'əlō, or pummelo pum'məlō, citrus fruit (Citrus paradisi) of the family Rutaceae (orange family). The grapefruit is so named because it grows in grapelike bunches.
Kiwi: Topic Page
The kiwifruit - about the size of a large egg - is very juicy and usually sweet, although sometimes it has a tart flavor.
Lemon: Topic Page
One of the citrus fruits, from a tree (Citrus limon) of the family Rutaceae (orange family), probably native to India.
Limes: Topic Page
Like most of the other members of the citrus family, the lime (Citrus aurantiifolia) is native to Southeast Asia. It was first cultivated in China and India, then introduced in southern Europe (probably during the Crusades), and carried much later by the Spaniards to the West Indies.
Mulberry: Topic Page
Common name for the Moraceae, a family of deciduous or evergreen trees and shrubs, often climbing, mostly of pantropical distribution, and characterized by milky sap.
Olive: Topic Page
Olive, common name for the Oleaceae, a family of trees and shrubs (including climbing forms) of warm temperate climates and of the Old World tropics, especially Asia and the East Indies.
Pear: Topic Page
Name for a fruit tree of the genus Pyrus of the family Rosaceae (rose family) and for its fruit, a pome.
Pineapple: Topic Page
A native of the New World, the pineapple (Ananas comosus) is now cultivated in frostfree areas around the world. The Tupi-Guarani Indians of South America have been credited with its domestication, although this is in some dispute.
Plantain banana: Topic Page
Tall plant (Musa paradisiaca) of the banana family that is closely related to the common banana (M. sapientum).
Plum: Topic Page
A pitted fruit, or drupe, and related to peaches and apricots, the plum is the most widely distributed of all the stone fruits, growing on every continent save Antarctica.
Strawberries: Topic Page
The garden strawberry (Fragaria ananassa) is probably the best known of the berries and certainly the most versatile.
Watermelon: Topic Page
A native of Africa, this ground-hugging vine (Citrullus lanatus = C. vulgaris), cultivated for its melons, managed early on to get around the globe with a great deal of agility.
Artichoke: Topic Page
Although at least three vegetables are called artichokes, the globe or French artichoke (Cynara scolymus) has little relationship to either the Jerusalem artichoke or the Chinese artichoke.
Asparagus: Topic Page
A member of the lily family (which includes leeks, garlic, onions, and other relatives of the grasses), this perennial (Asparagus officinalis) was doubtless an important gathered food for our Stone Age ancestors.
Beets: Topic Page
All of today's beets are descended from a wild forebear whose green tops doubtless nourished our own prehistoric forebears. Indeed, the first cultivated beets were apparently tended only for their leaves (eaten like spinach), and it was not until the early Christian era that their roots became appreciated.
This member of the cabbage family is an East Asian native and a mainstay in the diets of the region. But bok choy (Brassica rapa) is also available in the markets of Europe and North America.
Broccoli: Topic Page
A member of the mustard family, and doubtless a descendant of the wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea), broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) began as a wild-growing native of the Mediterranean region.
Cabbage: Topic Page
Sources indicate that the cabbage (Brassica oleracea) is an ancient vegetable of the European Old World, but cabbages in China were mentioned by Confucius (d. 497 B.C.), which suggests that the plant traveled quite widely in the distant past.
Carrot: Topic Page
A biennial plant with divided leaves, small white, pink, or yellow flowers borne in dense flat-topped clusters, and an edible orange root.
Cauliflower: Topic Page
The cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis), another - and many would say the most elegant - member of the sprawling cabbage family, is a direct descendant of the original wild cabbage and a close relative of broccoli.
Celery: Topic Page
A member of the parsley family, and native to the Mediterranean region and the Middle East, wild celery (Apium graveolens) was one of the first vegetables to appear in recorded history.
Chili Peppers: Topic Page
All chilli peppers belong to the genus Capsicum and are mostly varieties of two species - C. annuum and the generally smaller and hotter C. frutescens.
Collards: Topic Page
Called couve in Brazil and often regarded as a form of kale (which they are, differing mostly in the smoothness of their leaves), collards (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) constitute one of the oldest members of the cabbage family and probably originated in the Mediterranean region.
Corn: Topic Page
The name corn is given to the leading cereal crop of any major region. In England corn means wheat; in Scotland and Ireland, oats. The grain called corn in the United States is Indian corn or maize.
Cucumbers: Topic Page
A native of southwestern Asia, the cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a member of the squash family and has been cultivated since prehistoric times for its fruit.
Eggplant: Topic Page
The size and color of the eggplant (Solanum melongena) range from the white, eggshaped types of India (from whence the name derives) to a large, green or white variety of melon size, although the most common (in North America) remains the familiar dark purple, ovoid form sometimes called the “Japanese eggplant.”
Onion: Topic Page
The edible bulb of this plant, which consists of white fleshy scales and a pungent oil, surrounded by a brown papery outer layer, and is eaten raw, cooked or pickled.
Pea: Topic Page
Hardy, annual, climbing leguminous plant (Pisum sativum) of the family Leguminosae (pulse family), grown for food by humans at least since the early Bronze Age; no longer known in the wild form. It is cultivated everywhere in home gardens and on a large scale commercially for freezing or canning.
Pepper: Topic Page
Any of various tropical shrubs cultivated for their large red, green or yellow edible fruits, eg chilli pepper.
Potato: Topic Page
Common name for a perennial plant (Solanum tuberosum) of the family Solanaceae (nightshade family) and for its swollen underground stem, a tuber, which is one of the most widely used vegetables in Western temperate climates.
Tomato: Topic Page
Plant of the family Solanaceae, related to the potato and eggplant. Although cultivated in Mexico and Peru for centuries before the European conquest, the tomato is one of the newest plants to be used on a large scale for human food.
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