What is a good term for plants whose parts, either as tubers, roots, or fruit/seeds are harvested and consumed? I exclude plants such as hemp and flax whose fibres are used, or, for example, poppies for opium.

  • Are you asking about the plants? Or the foods they produce? Or something else?
    – Henry
    Oct 10, 2023 at 23:40
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    I tried to edit your question to make it more comprehensible, but I couldn't quite follow the thread. Could you edit this to make it less stream-of-thought-y? Oct 10, 2023 at 23:45
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    You cannot reap what you've sewn unless you're a seamstress. You meant sown, which is what one does with seeds and soil rather than with needle and thread. Also please note that not all organisms with fruiting bodies are plants.
    – tchrist
    Oct 11, 2023 at 1:08
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    Most of those things are (botanically) fruits. A tomato is a fruit even though in the culinary sense it is a vegetable. (BTW a cucumber belongs to the same family as melons and pumpkins - I don't know what you mean by 'sprouts'.) Carrots are root vegetables. Oct 11, 2023 at 8:09
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    The question poster mentioned the word "produce" in the original question, but maybe they weren't aware that it is a potential answer. I'm not sure if they are simply looking for a hypernym for fruits and vegetables, or a hypernym that covers some other plants too. Nuts are considered a fruit also, by the way. [the original question had more deails but it was unclear also]
    – ermanen
    Oct 13, 2023 at 4:25

2 Answers 2


produce noun

agricultural products and especially fresh fruits and vegetables as distinguished from grain and other staple crops


Also from Wikipedia's 'Produce' article:

Produce is a generalized term for many farm-produced crops, including fruits and vegetables (grains, oats, etc. are also sometimes considered produce). More specifically, the term produce often implies that the products are fresh and generally in the same state as where and when they were harvested.

Generally, people don't call 'wheat' produce but it could be.

Also, this is entirely anecdotal but in American English, it seems like when talking about the noun, people usually emphasize the "o", so it sounds closer to "pro-duce"; and when talking about the verb, they shorten it, so it sounds closer to "pruh-duce".

  • Doesn't produce include plants grown for textiles, oil, and other purposes, as well as food? In a supermarket it's restricted to fruit and veg because supermarkets don't sell e.g. raw hemp, but in an agricultural sense it seems to have a wider meaning.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 13, 2023 at 10:50
  • Well researched and probably the best answer available. Oct 13, 2023 at 13:37

What is a good term for plants whose parts, either as tubers, roots, or fruit/seeds are harvested and consumed?

They are known as food-plants. (Hyphen optional)


food plant n. : a plant (as wheat, potato, cabbage) some part of which provides food for human consumption.

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