Temperate and Tropical Food-plants

This page shows some of the major food-plants cultivated in temperate and tropical climates.

Climate zones are defined by a combination of factors which include temperature and rainfall as much as latitude. Because temperate and tropical climate zones blend into one another, many of the plants from one part of the world are cultivated in the other, so this is just a rough guide to which plants are found where. Plants listed as temperate crops can be grown in the tropics better than the other way around.

Notes: Plants shown in bold are “canoe plants” which Hawaiians brought from southern Polynesia.
Plants shown in brown are usually propagated from seed.
Plants shown in green are usually propagated vegetatively.
Plants shown in olive might be propagated either way.



Temperate crops
Tropical crops Botanical family/group
M
O
N
O
C
O
T
Y
L
E
D
O
N
S
Wheat
Corn
Oats
Barley
Rye
Millets
Wild Rice
Rice
Sugar
Bamboo
Poaceae
(Graminae)
“grains”

Taro & ‘ape Araceae

Coconut
Sago
Arecaceae

Pandanus Pandanaceae

Yam Dioscoreaceae
Onions & Garlic
Asparagus
Ti
Pia
Agave
Asparagales/Liliales

Vanilla Orchidaceae

Banana
Ginger & Tumeric
Zingiberales

Pineapple Bromeliaceae

Water chestnut
Cyperaceae


Avocado
Lotus
Soursop
Kava & Black Pepper
Cinnamon
Magnoliales
D
I
C
O
T
Y
L
E
D
O
N
S
Figs, Mulberries, Hops Breadfruit & Jackfruit Moraceae

Cassava & Kukui Euphorbiaceae

Sweet Potato & Ong Choi Convolvulaceae
Beans, Soybean,
Chickpeas, Lentils,
Peanut
Tamarind & Carob
Jicama
Wing & Yard-long beans
Fabaceae
(Leguminosae)

Malunggay
Moringaceae
Mustards, Cabbages,
Daikon, Radish
Broccoli, Cauliflower
Choi sum, Watercress

Brassicaceae
(Cruciferae)
Quinoa
Beets & Spinach
Amaranth Chenipodiaceae/
Amarantaceae
Carrot, Parsely
Cilantro, Cumin, Anise

Apiaceae
(Umbelliferae)
Eggplant, Potato
Tomato & Tomatillo
Chiles & Peppers

Solanaceae
Squash, Gourds
Melons, Cucumbers

Cucurbitaceae

Mountain apple (‘Ōhi‘a ‘ai)
Guava & Surinam Cherry
Clove & Allspice
Myrtaceae
Apple & Pear
Peach & Apricot
Plum & Cherry
Raspberry & Blackberry
Strawberry
Almond

Rosiaceae
Walnuts & Pecans
Juglandaceae
Pistacio
Cashew
Mango & Vi apple
Anacardiaceae

Orange
Lemon
Lime
Grapefruit
Pomelo
Kumquat
Noni
Coffee

Rubiaceae

Lychee, Longan, Rambutan
Sapindaceae
Grape
Blueberry
Papaya
Liliko‘i
Durian
Starfruit
Other fruits

Cacao (Chocolate) Sterculaciaeae

Tea Theaceae

Some good webpages to find more information on crops are:

For another kind of plant use, see Beatrice Krauss’ book, Native Plants Used As Medicine in Hawai‘i.

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Bunchy Top at Ricky's