Types of vegetables: 20 thousands of species for us to diversify


We cannot accurately quantify the number of types of vegetables in the world. We can say that there are thousands. It is estimated that there are over 20,000 species of edible plants, but only 20 take part on the 90% of the ones we eat. The amount of vegetables we eat is negligible compared to what there is available. What to do then? Firstly, we need to respect the criteria of seasonality. Then always prefer what is locally produced – these two characteristics tend to meet conscious exploration that respects the rhythms of the environment. Last but not least, we need to diversify. And that implies varying between the choices we know, but also looking for new options. We will give you a hand. Meet these 11 families where you will find various types of vegetables.


Lots of colors and flavors to explore.

Each category, or botanical family, includes different genus that group several species that share many characteristics. However, in these species we can identify different varieties, which influences the colours and flavours of each type of vegetable. One family can be hundreds of genus and thousands of species, but let’s keep our focus on the garden and share with you the families you should know.


1. Allioideae, the types of vegetables that will flavour your food.

Containing 795 species, organized into 20 different genus, this is a subfamily of the Asparagales family, the group that includes asparagus and onions. As in a regular family, the botanic families can also change their names, and this includes the Alliaceae species. But let’s keep it simple and focus on the fact that this family is distinguished by its odor as it includes onions, garlic, leek, shallot and scallions.


2. Apiaceas, the type of vegetables that will add some aroma to your food.

This family has about 300 genus including aquatic, rupicolous or terrestrial plants. They are usually aromatic herbs with small flowers and, although this family contains some toxic species, among its best known members are: carrots, fennel, celery, parsley, cumin and anise.


3. Rosaceae, the fruits we love.

This family has 4,828 species, spread over 91 genus and they are very diverse: from trees to shrubs to herbaceous. This group includes many fruits, with or without pit, such as: strawberries; quinces; apples; pears; almonds; raspberries.


4. Asteriaceae, for the most common salads

This family has 535 genus and an amazing quantity of 23,000 species which may include herbs, shrubs or trees. This is where leaves such as lettuce, chicory or artichoke are included.


5. Solanacea, a diversified family.

This family includes plants of different shape, morphology and ecology including shrubs, undergrowths, herbs, trees and vines. Tubers are also quite characteristic of this family. The list is extensive and diverse, but to mention only the most known, it includes: potatoes; tomatoes; peppers; aubergines; goji berries.

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6. Brassicaceae, types of vegetables for the soup.

This family name comes from the species we might mostly associate with it: the genus Brassica (also known as sprouts). This family has over 300 genus with over 3000 species. Mostly annual herbaceous plants – there are, however, but to a lesser extent some biennials or perennials. Cabbages, turnips, radishes, garden cress or arugula are part of the family.


7. Quenopodiacea, stay strong, eat spinach.

This family features types of vegetables distinguish by roots, bulbs, tubers and fruits. For examples: spinach; beetroot; chard.


8. Liliácea, a bunch os aspargous.

This family, made up of 16 genus and 635 species, is named by Tulips and Lilies, widely used as ornamental plants and the best known genus of the family. But this beautiful family is also made of edible plants such as asparagus, for example.

9. Cucurbitácea, types of vegetables for Halloween.

This family includes 975 species spread over 95 to 98 genus. They are mostly stem plants, often creeping and containing seedlings. They are annual and even if we can find them worldwide, they’re originally from tropical and subtropical areas. This includes: melon; cucumber; pumpkin; courgette.


10. Fabaceae, the family of our legumes.

With 600 genus and 18 thousand species, legumes are born from this family. They exist all over the planet and are usually herbaceous, climbing, shrubby or arboreal. This includes green beans, peas or broad beans.


10. Lamiae, types of vegetables for better aroma and flavour.

This is the 7th largest family of flowering plants (in the form of shrubs, herbs and rarely trees), containing 236 to 258 genus, with 6970 to 7193 species. They are almost always aromatic herbs, including marjoram, thyme, sage, rosemary, basil – again perfect for growing in your home garden.

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