What Are Some Common Crops and Their Botanical Names?

Dwight Sipler/CC-BY 2.0

Some common crops and their botanical names include corn (Zea mays), wheat (Tritcum spp.), rice (Oryza sativa) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa). Others are tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum), eggplants (Solanum melongena var. esculentum), broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica), kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica), lima beans (Phaseolus limensis) and olives (Olea europaea). Other popular crops include squash (Cucurbita pepo), oranges (Citrus sinensis), lettuce (Lactuca sativa), onions (Allium cepa) and potatoes (Solanum tuberosum).

Though learning the botanical names of plants can be useful. Knowing the genera of the plant, like solenum or brassica, can let a person know whether it is in the nightshade family or if it is a cole crop. Some people may be allergic to nightshade plants. If a plant is a cole crop, this indicates that it is likely a cool weather plant and should be planted either in the late summer or during a mild winter months.

Sativa means that the seeds of the plant are sown. Esculentum means that the plant is edible, which is important to know if the plant belongs to a family of otherwise poisonous plants. This is true of the tomato, eggplant and potato, which belong to the same family as the deadly nightshade.