Get complete information on Plants as sources for Food and Fodder


(a) Cereals: They belong to family Gramineae. There yield grain or single seeded fruit called caryopsis.

(1) Major Cereals include:

(i) Rice (Oryza sativa):


It is a Tropical crop now grown in almost all parts of India. In North India it is grown as Kharif crop but in other parts 2-3 crops are raised. It is a staple food of 60% of world population and more than 50% Indians. 90% production in Asia. Grain husk is called paddy. Rice is deficient in protein. Rice bran yields oil. Basmati is flavoured rice cultivated in parts of D.P. and Haryana. It contains 90% starch & 8-10% protein.

(ii) Wheat (Triticum aestivum):

Temperate crop grown in North India. Staple food in majority of the
countries. Its Tonnage output is more than Rice and Maize. Two types of it include:

(1) Durum Wheat (Triticum durum) which is ‘tetraploid and grows in drier parts, used in macroni and noodles.


(2) Bread Wheat (Triticum aestivum = T. vulllgare) is hexaploid and employed in making bread, cakes, chapaties etc.

Wheat contain 60-70% starch’and 10-17% protein.

(iii) Maize (corn = Zea mays):

It is the tallest cereal from New World. It cannot tolerate ground frost. Maize grains yield popcorn (Zea mays var, everta), flour corn oil, corn starch and protein Zein (for artificial fibre and foamming agent in fire extinguisher).


(2) Minor Cereals and Millets:

Rye (Secale cereale), Oat (Avena sativa), Barley (Hordeurn vulgare) and millet are called minor cereals. Millets

(i) Jowar, Great Millet (Sorghum vulgare or S. bicolor). It is raw material for malting industry. It is food for poor and also cattle i.e., it is also fodder.

(ii) Bajra (Pearl/Bulrush Millet or Pennisetum typhoides – P. americanurn): It is food for poor and is small sized grain.


(iii) Ragi (Finger Millet) or Eleusine coracana.

(iv)Italian/Foxtail Millet or Setaria italica.

(v) Common Millet: (Prosomillet) or Panium miliaceum.

(vi)Little Millet or Panicum miliase.


(vii) Shama Millet (Jungle Rice) or Echinochloa colona.

(b) Pulses:

(Family Leguminosae, Sub-family Papilionodeae). These are legume seeds. Green pods are also used as vegetables. Pulses are rich in proteins. However, some of them lack amino-acids lysine, tryptophan and methionine. Soyabean is the richest plant food (36.5% protein) which is given to diabetic patients. Higher protein content is due to symbiotic root nodule bacterium of genus Rhizobium.

These are

(i) Gram (Chick pea). Cicer arietinum. This is used as besan, bread and also cattle feed.

(ii) Red Gram (Pigeon Pea, Arhar, Tur) Cajanus cajan. It is used as Dal and Cattle feed.

(iii) Black Gram (Urd) Vigna orPhaseolus mungo (= P. radiatus).

(iv) Green Gram (Mung) Vigna radiatus = Phaseolus aureus.

(v) Pea (Mattar) Pisum sativum. It contains 7.2% protein, 15.8% carbohydrate and also some vitamins. It is eaten green or canned or as vegetable.

(vi) Soyabean (Bhat) Glycine max. It is is eaten roasted or as milk which is a refreshing drink. It also yields oil.

(vii) Mat Bean (Moth) Vigna aconitifolia = Phaseolus aconitifolius.

(viii) Lentil (Masur) Lens esculentua = L culinaris.

(ix) Red kidney bean (Rajmah) Phaseolus vulgaris.

(x) Lablab Lablab purpureas = Dolichos lablab.

(xi) Guar/Claster Bean. Cyamopsis tetragonolobas.

(xii) Moongphali (groundnut) Archis hypogea. It is rich in protein. Eaten roasted or as vegetable ghee.

(xiii) Cow Pea Lohia Vigna unguiculata (V. sinensis) – Phaseolus lunetus: Lathyrism, a crippling dissability marked by muscular weakness, tremors and paraplegia is caused by eating seeds of Lathyrus sativus (Grass Pea, Chickling vetch, vern, Khesari Dal). The seeds contain osteotoxin B-amino Propionitrile (BAPN) and water soluble neurotoxin B-N-oxalyl amino alanine (BOAA). Red Kidney Bean and French bean possess lectins which are destroyed only on boiling for some time. Low temperature cooking or eating raw soaked beans can be dangerous.

(c) Nuts/Dry Fruits:

(1) Almond (Vern. Badam): Prunus amygdalus (P. ducis) Edible part is seed inside drupe (parts outside endocarp peeled off in marketed product).

(2) Walnut (Vern. Akhroat): Juglans regia (J. nigra) Edible part kernel inside nut/drupe (older view).

(3) Cashewnut(vern. Kaaju): Anacardium occidentale. Kaaju is seed of nut. The juiey thalamus of Cashew- Apple is source of cashew-wine.

(4) Pistachio (Vern. Pista): Pisiacia vera. Edible part is kernel.

(5) Pine nut (vern. Chilgoja = Neja) : Pinus gerardiana. Edible part is kernel.

(d) Edible Oils:

(1) Mustard (Sarson) Brassica campestris var sarson. = Brassica rapus var-glauca.

(2) Rape (Toria) Brassica Campestris var. toria = Brassica napus var-napus.

(3) Groundnut (Pea nut) Arachis hypogea. Fruits are indehisent pods formed underground (geocarpy).

(4) Sesame or Gingelly (Til) Sesamum indicum.

(5) Cotton Gossypium herbaceums = G. arboreum. Seeds yield cotton fibres from surface.

(6) Sunflower. Helianthus annus. Oil is rich in unsaturated fats.

(7) Coconut: Cocos nucifera. Copra or dried endosperm yield oil. Coir from mesocarp. Coir industry is concentrated mostly, in Kerala.

(8) Oil palm. Elaeis guineensis.

(e) Fruits:

Fleshy fruits which are eaten raw because they are palatable & sweet.

(1) Mango: Mangifera indica. Fleshy drup with pulpy mesocarp.

(2) Banana: Musa paradisiaca. Parthenogenic berries. Most nutritious with 20% sugar, 4.7% proteins, minerals and five vitamins A, B, C, D and E.

(3) Apple: Malus pumila. Pome.

(4) Grape: Vitis vinifera. Berry.

(5) Orange: Citrus reticulata. Special berry called hesperidium. Juicy placental hair. Sweet orange is Citrus sinensis.

Remaining citrus fruits include grape fruit (Citrus paradis) pomello/shaddock (Chakotra, Citrus deumana or maxima) citron (Tarunj, citrus medica), hill lemon (Galgal, Citrus limon), rough lemon (Khatta, Citrus jambiri), lime (Nimbu, Citrus aurantifolia), Kama (Citrus kama), Kinnow (Citrus reticulata sinensis) etc.

(6) Other fruits include:

Peach-Prunus persica-drupe

Apricot-Prunus armeniaca-drupe

Pear-Pyrus communis-pome

Loquat-Eriobotrya japonica-pome

JamboIan – Syzg ium cumini-berry

Papaya-Can’ca papaya-berry

Date-Phoenix dactylifera-berry also considered drupe.

Musk me\on-Cucumis melo-pepo

Water melon-Citrullus vulgaris-pepo

Snapmelon-CwcMmw melo-pepo

Pomegranate- Punica granatum-balastula

Sapota-Man ilka ra achras

Mangosteen-Qcwcina mangostana

Phalsa-Grewia asiatica-drupe

Emblic-Amla-Emblica officinalis-berry rich in Vitamin C.

Litchi-Litchi chinensis-Sorosh.

Custard apple-Annona squamosa-etaerio of berries.

Pineapple-Ananas camosus-Sorosis.

Fig-Ficus carica-Syconus.

(f) Starchy Tubers:

(1) Potato-Solanum tuberosum: Stem tubers. New World crop cultivated throughout, most abundantly in East Europe.

(2) Tapioca: Manihot utilissica roots tubes requiring treatment, New World crop now being cultivated in Kerala.

(g) Vegetables: They are eaten for roughage, minerals and vitamins. Vegetables are usually cooked but some are eaten raw.

(1) Carrot (Daucos carota): Root vegetable rich in B-carotene,

(2) Radish (Raphanus sativus) : Root and fruit vegetable.

(3) Turnip (Brassica rapa): Root vegetable.

(4) Okra (Lady’s finger): Abeloschus or Hibiscus esculentus. Fruit vegetable.

(5) Brinjal: Solatium melongena, Fruit vegetable.

(6) Pumpkin: Cucurbita pepo. Fruit vegetable.

(7) Round Gourd: Citrullus lonatus var. Fistulosus. Fruit vegetable.

(8) Tomato: Lycopersicon lycopersium or L. esculentum. Fruit vegetable also used in Ketchup.

(9) Onion: Allium cepa. Bulb or underground vegetable cum spice.

(10) Garlic: Allium sativum. Bulb or underground vegetable cum spice.

(11) Taro: Colocasia esculenta = C. antiquorum. Coron or underground vegetable.

(12) Potato: Solanum tuberosum. Stem tuber, underground vegetable, annual production of over 300 million tonnes. Researchers have been going to reduce its water content (74.7%), increase its carbohydrate content from 23% to 46% and enhance its protein content 1.6% to 15%.

(13) Cabbage: Brassica oleracea var. capitata. Vegetative or terminal bud.

(14) Cauliflower: Brassica oleracea var. botrytis unripe fleshy inflorescence.

(15) Bottle Gourd: Lagenaria siceraria.

(16) Sponge Ridged Gourd: Luffa acutangula.

(17) Smooth Gourd: Luffa cylindrica.

(18) Pointed cucumber: Cucumis sativus.

(19) Snake/Long cucumber: Cucumis melo var utilissima.

(20) Celery: Apium graveolens var dulce as a salad.

(21) Lettuce: Lactuca sativa as salad.

(h) Sugar:

(1) Sugarcane: Saccharum officinarum Commonly aneuploid. Juice from canes yield sugar. By products are molasses and – Bagasse. Maximum production in U.R Leading sugarcane producing country is Brazil, almost parallel to India.

(2) Sugar Beet: Beta vulgaris. Root (Napiform).

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