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Native crops by region

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Why native crops ?[edit]

Native crops can be expected to fit the ecology of the region, and be able to grow in the climate and soil of the region. They can also play an important role in reducing the distance food needs to travel. [1] However, native crops may not always be as productive as the more popular domesticated counterparts or attain equally high prices. The latter is often a result of being not well known (and thus disliked) by the population (at least at first).

Native crops should always be considered in agriculture as they are generally hardier and thus safer crops in terms of providing food (especially today, with global warming affecting the precipitation pattern). They are however not the most appropriate choice in some situations. Especially where unwanted propagation, and contact to the outside environment can be reduced/eliminated (ie use in greenhouses, sterile crops, ...) non-indigenous crops may be a suitable option.

Types of native crops by region[edit]

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File:Indigenous staple crops.png
Indigenous staple, secondary and tertiary crops map. Map key required.

Type of crops indicated in this article[edit]

Primary crops: divided in primary crops carbohydrates (PC_C_) and primary crops protein (PC_C_). Both abbreviations are followed by a number to indicate the region.
Secondary crops: abbreviation SC_ followed by a number to indicate the region. These are generally herbs, spices (most widely used kitchen herbs/spices) or crops for making beverages
Supplementary (or tertiary) crops: TC_ followed by a number to indicate the region. These crops are generally sweet crops or sweeteners

Not indicated crops[edit]

Fruits or "quartary crops" are not indicated on this page. Quintary crops or vegetables are also not indicated. Separate maps of both can be found via the links below.


Region 1: East-Asia
Region 2: Oceania
Region 3: Central-Asia
Region 4: West-Asia & South-Europe
Region 5: North-Africa & South-Africa
Region 6: Central-Africa
Region 7: North-Europe, North-Asia & North-America
Region 8: Central-America
Region 9: South-America (north)
Region 10: South-America (central)
Region 11: South-America (south)

Names of the native crops[edit]

PC_C_1: rice, foxtail millet [2][3]
PC_P_1: soybean [4], wild Azuki bean[5][6], wild rice bean[7]
SC_1: tea bush [8]
TC_1: monk fruit [9][10]
PC_C_2: yam[11], swamp taro [12]
SC_2: great morinda [13], common nutmeg[14]
TC_2: sugarcane [15], Arenga palm[16], Asian Palmyra Palm [17], Nypa fruticans [18], True Sago Palm (for palm sugar production)[19], New Guinea Palmyra Palm[20][21]
TC_2-1: coconut [22]
PC_C_3: taro [23]
PC_P_3: Moringa oleifera [24], broad bean[25][26]Moth bean [27][28], Horse Gram[29][30]Guar bean, [31][32]wild Mung bean [33], Wild pigeon pea [34], Black gram[35]wild Velvet bean [36][37]
SC_3: black pepper [38], Hibiscus sabdariffa [39], lemon grass [40], Ceylon cinnamon [41], basil [42]
TC_3: Indian date palm (for palm sugar production)[43], Caryota urens [44]
PC_C_4: wheat, rye [45][46], wild parsnip[47]
PC_P_4: oat [48][49], wild pea [50], wild chickpea[51], lentil [52]
SC_4: rosemary [53], spear mint [54], dill [55], coriander [56], saffron [57], anise [58], black and white mustard [59]
TC_4: Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) [60][61]
PC_C_5: pearl millet, barley [62][63]
PC_P_5: wild cow pea[64][65]
SC_5: Kola nut [66]
TC_5: African Palmyra Palm[67], Ake Assi's Palmyra Palm[68][69]
TC_5-2:Borassus madagascariensis[70][71]
PC_C_6: Sorghum bicolor, teff [72][73]
PC_P_6: Wild hyacinth bean[74], White Wild Musk Mallow[75][76][77], Psophocarpus grandiflorus R. Wilczek[78][79]
SC_6: coffee plant (coffea arabica, coffea robusta)[80]
PC_C_7: Northern wild rice [81], Wild rice[82], Texas wild rice[83], Jerusalem artichoke[84][85]
PC_P_7: Amaranthus hypochondriacus[86][87][88], American groundnut[89], wild tepary bean[90][91], slimjim bean [92]
SC_7: sassafras albidum [93], Ephedra [94]
PC_C_7-2: buckwheat[95][96], Manchurian wild rice[97]
PC_P_7-2: Flatpod peavine[98],
SC_7-2: rosa canina [99], small-leaved linden [100], valerian [101], chamomile [102], garlic/Allium longicuspis [103]
TC_7: birch (Betula papyrifera var. humilis and Betula neoalaskana)[104], sugar maple[105]
TC_7-2: honey (from Apis mellifera mellifera)[106][107][108], sweet cicely root[109],licorice [110]
PC_C_8: maize [111]
PC_P_8: Amaranthus cruentus [112][113][114][115],wild runner bean[116][117]
SC_8: vanilla [118]
TC_8: sugar pine [119], Agave salmiana, Agave tequilana [120]
PC_C_9: potato [121]
PC_P_9: quinoa [122][123][124], Amaranthus caudatus [125][126][127][128], lima bean [129][130], peanut, Lupinus piurensis[131][132][133]
SC_9: Capsicum annuum [134], guarana [135]
TC_9: Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni and other species [136][137], yacón syrup [138]
PC_C_10: cassava [139]
PC_C_11: sweet potato [140][141]
SC_11: yerba maté [142]


  1. Ie the farming of native crops/animals can be regulated nationally (so it can be made illegally to cultivate anything that is not native) and worldwide transport will no longer be economically feasible at all (as import/export of most crops depends on availability of several regions rather than just one region. having only one region from which crop can come will clog shipping/aircraft transport routes and/or the routes may not be economically attractive at all). This results in having the crop/animal not transported at all, and the consumer being force to choose another crop/animal. This will be, in most cases, a crop/animal that is grown on a better route, often closer to home.
  2. Rice's origin= China, 3 locations along Yangtsekiang
  3. Foxtail millet origin=China (though somewhat more north than indicated)
  4. Soybean's origin=Korea
  5. Vigna angularis var. nipponensis ancestor to Azuki bean
  6. Wild azuki bean native to Japan
  7. Vigna umbellata var.gracilis native to Southern China, near Vietnam
  8. Tea bush (var. sinensis) native to western Yunnan, while C. sinensis var. assamica is native to the warmer parts of Assam (India)
  9. Monk fruit native to china, near taiwan
  10. Luo han guo
  11. Yam's origin=Indonesia
  12. Swamp taro origin=melanesia
  13. Great morinda native to Southeast Asia (Indonesia) and Australia
  14. Common nutmeg native to the Banda Islands of Indonesia
  15. Sugarcane encompassing 37 species, indigenous to tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia. Different species likely originated in different locations, with S. barberi originating in India and S. edule and S. officinarum coming from New Guinea
  16. Arenga pinnata palm native to tropical Asia, from eastern India east to Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines in the east.
  17. Borassus flabellifer native along the entire northern shores of the Indian Ocean, from the mouth of the Tigris to New Guinea, yet more dominant in region between Indonesia and Pakistan
  18. Nypa fruticans native within the Indomalaya ecozone -in southern Asia, Indochina, the Malesian region, and northern Australia-
  19. Metroxylon sagu native to western New Guinea
  20. Borassus heineanus native to New Guinea
  21. Borassus heineanus used probably as a same way as Borassus akeasi, so not for palm sugar
  22. Cocunut's origin: somewhere between northwest-South america and Melanesia
  23. Taro origin=between India & Bangladesh
  24. Moringa oleifera native to northwestern India
  25. Vicia faba has been cultivated since 6000 BC, unknown ancestor
  26. Vicia faba native to Afghanistan
  27. Phaseolus aconitifolius native to East India
  28. Moth bean can be consumed by humans
  29. Macrotyloma uniflorum native to India
  30. Horse Gram being high in protein content, can be consumed as seed or meal for humans
  31. Cyamopsis tetragonoloba native to northwest India
  32. Guar bean rich in protein
  33. Vigna radiata var.sublobata native to India
  34. Cajanus cajan native to north-east India
  35. Vigna mungo var.silvestris native to India
  36. Mucuna pruriens having no ancestors
  37. Mucuna pruriens native to Southern China, near East India
  38. Black pepper native to Western Ghats of Kerala State, India
  39. Hibiscus sabdariffa native to tropical Asia, from India to Malaysia
  40. Lemon grass species native to Southern India, Sri Lanka
  41. Ceylon cinnamon native to Sri Lanka
  42. Basil native to northeast India
  43. Indian date palm native to southern Pakistan, most of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh
  44. Caryota urens native to Sri Lanka, Singapore, Myanmar, and India
  45. Wheat origin=Fertile Crescent, Near East
  46. Rye origin=Fertile Crescent, Near East
  47. Pastinaca sativa sylvestris native to Eurasia, primarily east Europe (Ukraine, Azerbaijan)
  48. Oat origin=Fertile Crescent, Near East
  49. Oat having high comparitive protein content, thus usable as PC_P crop
  50. Pisum sativum elatius native to Bulgaria - Mediterranean basin, Near East. Earliest archaeological finds of peas come from Neolithic Syria, Turkey and Jordan.
  51. Cicer reticulatum native to southeastern Turkey and Syria
  52. Lentils native to eastern Turkey, north Syria
  53. Rosemary native to the Mediterranean area
  54. Mentha cordifolia native to much of Europe and southwest Asia
  55. Dill native to southern Russia/East Europe
  56. Coriander native to southwestern Asia west to north Africa
  57. Saffron native to Southwest Asia, near Greece
  58. Anise native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia
  59. Black mustard native to southern Mediterranean region, white mustard (sinapis alba) native to the Mediterranean region and the Crimea
  60. Date palm native to Persian Gulf, near Syria
  61. Note that other data palms too exist, see yet not all are used for human consumption
  62. Pearl millet origin=West Africa, near the Sahel strip
  63. Barley origin=Egypt
  64. Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata var spontanea ancestor of cow pea
  65. Wild cow pea native to West Africa, native to savanna
  66. Kola nut native to the tropical forests of West Africa
  67. Borassus aethiopum native to Sudan and the whole northern Sahelian border, in particular in the east an in savannah vegetation
  68. Borassus akeassii native to West Africa, ie Burkina Faso
  69. Borassus akeassii mainly used for preparing drinks, not for palm sugar
  70. Borassus madagascariensis native to Madagascar
  71. Sambirano Palmyra Palm also exists in Madagascar yet has no particular use, ref:Plant Resources of Tropical Africa: Vegetables by G. J. H. Grubben
  72. Origin sorghum bicolor= between Ehiopia & Sudan (also named Sudanese grass)
  73. Teff origin=Ethiopia
  74. Lablab purpureus subsp. uncinatus native to East Africa
  75. Abelmoschus ficulneus ancestor of Abelmoschus esculentus
  76. Abelmoschus ficulneus native to Ethiopia
  77. Abelmoschus ficulneus bearing edible fruit
  78. Psophocarpus grandiflorus ancestor to Psophocarpus tetragonolobus
  79. Psophocarpus grandiflorus native to east Africa (area between Ethiopia and Uganda)
  80. Coffee native to Ethiopia
  81. Zizania palustris native to Great lakes region, USA
  82. Zizania aquatica native to Saint Lawrence River, USA
  83. Zizania texana native to San Marcos River in central Texas, USA
  84. Helianthus tuberosus native to eastern Canada and northeastern USA
  85. Helianthus tuberosus as ancestor of sunflower
  86. Compararing protein crops
  87. Amaranth high in nutrients, useful as PC_P crop
  88. Amaranthus hypochondricus origin=North America
  89. Apios americana native to eastern southern, central North America
  90. [ Phaseolus acutifolius A. Gray native to Sonoran desert
  91. No ancestors of tepary bean
  92. Phaeseolus filiformis native to Sonoran desert
  93. Sassafras albidum native to eastern North America, from southern Maine and southern Ontario west to Iowa, and south to central Florida and eastern Texas
  94. Ephedra funerea, Ephedra viridis and Ephedra nevadensis native to Nevada, California
  95. Buckwheat origin=northern hemisphere
  96. Buckwheat origin=between Lac Baikal & Manchuria]
  97. Zizania latifolia native to Manchuria, China
  98. Lathyrus cicera native to south-east Europe, ancestor of Lathyrus sativa
  99. Rosa canina native to Europe, including Britain, northwest Africa and western Asia
  100. small-leaved linden native to much of Europe and western Asia
  101. Valerian native to Europe and parts of Asia
  102. chamomile native to Europe and Western Asia
  103. Allium longicuspis native to central and southwestern Asia
  104. Betula papyrifera var. humilis and Betula neoalaskana native to Alaska, northern Canada
  105. Sugar maple (used to make maple syrup) native to the hardwood forests of northeastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Ontario, and south to Georgia and Texas.
  106. Apis florea and Apis andreniformis native to South and South East Asia (including the Philippines)
  107. Apis mellifera mellifera native to East-Europe
  108. Apis mellifera having 14 subspecies, see and
  109. Sweet cicely native to Europe
  110. Licorice native to southeastern Europe, near Romania/Bulgaria
  111. Maize's origin=Mexico
  112. Compararing protein crops
  113. Amaranth high in nutrients, useful as PC_P crop
  114. Amaranthus cruentus origin=Central America
  115. Amaranthus cruentus origin=Central America
  116. Phaseolus formosus Kunth. ancestor of Phaseolus coccineus
  117. Phaseolus formosus Kunth. native to region between north Mexico and Panama
  118. Vanilla native to Mexico
  119. Sugar pine native to the mountains of the Pacific coast of North America, from Oregon through California to Baja California
  120. Agave salmiana and Agave tequilana native to central Mexico
  121. Potato origin=Peru
  122. Quinoa indigenous to Peru, protein content=14g/100g serving
  123. Quinoa origin=around Lake Titicaca
  124. Quinoa having high comparitive protein content, hence useful as PC_P_ crop
  125. Comparing protein crops
  126. Amaranth high in nutrients, useful as PC_P crop
  127. Amaranthus caudatus origin=Peru
  128. Amaranthus causates origin=south America
  129. Phaseolus lunatus origin=Andes
  130. Phaseolus lunatus var. silvester Baudet ancestor of Lima bean
  131. [ Lupinus piurensis ancestor of Lupinus mutabilis]
  132. Lupinus piurensis native to the western slopes of the Andes, Peru
  133. Lupinus piurensis bearing edible plant parts, after treatment
  134. Capsicum species having a common ancestor which originated somewhere in the northwest Brazil - Colombia area
  135. Guarana native to the Amazon, in the region of Manaus and Parintins
  136. Stevia encompassing 240 species, native to subtropical and tropical regions from western North America to South America
  137. Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni is native to Paraguay
  138. Yacón native to lower Andes/Peru
  139. Cassava origin= west-central Brazil
  140. Sweet potato origin=South America
  141. Cassava's origin
  142. Yerba maté native to subtropical South America in northeastern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay


  • It would be useful to use wild perennial versions for the grain crops where possible[1]
  • Rapeseed is another important protein-crop which however has not been mentioned here. This as press cakes are consumable by humans[2] and as these contain a huge amount of protein. You can find rapeseed indicated at File:Oil_crops.png
  • Sugar beet wasn't included as it is a selected species from Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima

Kombucha not mentioned as it can be made anywhere without danger of introducing a exotic species to the area (uses a bacteria or yeast)

  • Coca (for coca maté) and kava not mentioned neither, despite being a important local drink. This, as they're mostly mind-altering substances rather than true drinks (unlike yeasted beverages (containing ethanol), they can cause vomoting, ... even when consuming small amounts)
  • Finally note that many beverages (ie lemonade, ...) require fruit juice (often from citrus such as lime or lemon). Refer to the Fruits and nuts map for this, not btw that these too have low caloric contents (other citrus crops have higher caloric contents)

Further information[edit]

  1. Perennial grain crops advocated by The Land Institute]
  2. KATHO in Roeselaere, Belgium makes pastes and energy bars from this for human consumption

See also[edit]