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Plants and People. Vegetables. Non-reproductive Parts. Monocot versus Dicot. Monocot versus Dicot - Leaves. MONCOT. DICOT. Monocot versus Dicot - Roots. DICOT. MONCOT. When Mom Told You to Eat your Vegetables….she lied!. The following is NOT a vegetable …. So…What is a Vegetable?.

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Plants and People


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When Mom Told You to Eat your Vegetables….she lied!

The following is NOT a vegetable…

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So…What is a Vegetable?

Generally speaking, a vegetable is any plant part NOT involved in sexual reproduction. Usually a “vegetable” is a plant’s roots, shoots, or stems….and will never be a fruit (contains seeds) or a flower (contains a plant’s reproductive organs)

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Carrots and parsnips are underground roots that become swollen as they accumulate stored photosynthate, and are called tap roots.

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sweet potato

The sweet potato is a swollen root, distinguished from the potato by the lack of "eyes" or lateral buds.

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Onions and garlic are referred to as bulbs, modified stems in which the primary storage tissue is expanded leaf bases

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Ginger is a branched, underground compressed stem referred to botanically as a rhizome.

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A potato is an unexpanded, underground stem that is called a tuber. The dimples on the surface of the potato, the "eyes", are actually lateral buds.

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A vertical, unexpanded, underground stem is called a corm. A corm is solid inside (unlike a bulb) and doesn’t usually have nodes all over like a tuber. There is often a papery covering composed of leaf bases. Examples: water chestnut, taro.

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When we eat lettuce, we eat the leaves. There is considerable variation among the types of lettuce. Some types form a tight head, while others are harvested as "leaf" types. Color varies from green-yellow, to red to purplish.

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The cabbage head is an unexpanded stem surrounded by overlapping, fully expanded leaves. The leaves are usually shredded or cut away from the stem, and the stem itself is rarely eaten.

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The edible portion of celery is the petiole, the small stalk attaching the leaf blade to the stem. The whole, unexpanded celery shoot may be eaten as well, called “hearts of celery”.

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How to be Successful in this Lab…

  • FACT: Lab practicals and quizzes will be based on your ability to identify a given vegetable, fruit, flower, etc…so learn them and be able to visually recognize them!

  • Use the “prop” resources available to you during lab by taking time to familiarize yourself with each specimen - DO NOT divide and conquer!

  • Bring your lab packet with you to each lab.

  • Make flashcards and study/learn them by grouping them and making multiple connections - place of origin, family, part of the plant, etc.

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Prop Cards

You will “meet” a lot of plants this semester, presented as fresh or dry products or packaged props. Each will come with a prop card carrying the information you need to know. Learn how to interpret the material on each card.