Plant Catalog

Plant Catalog Index

Catálogo Plantas

Andean Grains and Legumes

Cañihua (Chenopodium pallidicaule)
The canihua, which originated in the Andes of southern Peru and Bolivia, was domesticated by the settlers of Tiahuanaco, who established themselves on the tableland of Collao. No archaeological remains have been found connected with this plant, and the dehiscence which the seeds still display suggests that its domestication is not complete. It is important on the high plateau of Peru and Bolivia because it produces grains for human consumption at between 3 800 and 4 300 m, being very cold-resistant in its various phenological phases. At present, its cultivation and utilization are maintained at subsistence levels in these regions. One of the causes of its marginalization is the large number of people required to harvest it and its small grain size, which makes handling difficult.
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa)
The quinoa is a food plant which was extensively cultivated in the Andean region by pre-Columbian cultures some 5000 years ago and was used in the diet of the settlers both of the inter-Andean valleys. which are very cold high areas, and of the high plateaus. After maize. it has occupied the most prominent place among Andean grains. At present. it continues to be grown in Colombia. Ecuador. Peru, Bolivia. Chile and Argentina. Its marginalization began with the introduction of cereals such as barley and wheat, which eventually replaced it. The reduction in its cultivated area in the Andean countries is also due to technical. economic and social reasons. Harvesting and threshing, which in the majority of cases are done by hand, take a great many days and the grain requires a process to remove its bitter ingredients before consumption. The prices received by farmers often do not justify their labour.
Andean Lupin (Lupinus mutabilis)
The Andean lupin is a leguminous plant that was domesticated and grown by the ancient settlers of the central Andean region from pre-Incan times, as indicated by seeds found in tombs of the Nazca culture and the plant's representation on Tiahuanaco pottery. As in earlier times, Andean populations still use the seeds as a food today. They were very important as long ago as the pre-Hispanic era, figuring foremost among foods because of their high protein content. Lupinus mutabilis is still grown from Ecuador to Chile and northern Argentina under different production systems. It was displaced by European crops and, because of this, has been one of the native species most affected by marginalization. The grain has a high alkaloid content which imparts a very bitter taste and a process is therefore needed to eliminate it, thus giving it a disadvantage compared with other introduced legumes. The result has been a reduction in cultivated area of L. mutabilis, despite its agronomic and nutritional benefits. such as the fixing of atmospheric nitrogen (more than 100 kg per hectare), cold resistance and a high protein and oil content. Its marginalization may have been influenced by the fact that it was eaten mainly by the indigenous population. as well as by its variable yield: on peasant plots, 300 to 600 kg per hectare are obtained: under suitable conditions, 3500 kg, and experimentally. 7000 kg per hectare.

A. Mujica
Plant Catalog
Cañihua (Chenopodium pallidicaule)

Chenopodium is a genus of about 150 species of flowering plants. It contains several plants of minor to moderate importance as food crops, both leaf vegetables and pseudocereals, including quinoa and cañihua. Cañihua, which originated in the Andes of southern Peru and Bolivia, was domesticated by the settlers of Tiahuanaco, who established themselves on the tableland of Collao. Cañihua is important on the high plateau of Peru and Bolivia because it produces grains for human consumption at between 3 800 and 4 300 meters, being very cold-resistant in its various phenological phases.

GFU for Underutilized Species
GFU for Underutilized Species
Plant Catalog

The date is an erect palm to 100 or 120 ft (30.5-36.5 m), the trunk clothed from the ground up with upward-pointing, overlapping, persistent, woody leaf bases. After the first 6 to 16 years, numerous suckers will arise around its base. The feather-like leaves, up to 20 ft (6 m) long, are composed of a spiny petiole, a stout midrib, and slender, gray-green or bluish-green pinnae 8 to 16 in (20-40 cm) long, and folded in half lengthwise. Each leaf emerges from a sheath that splits into a network of fibers remaining at the leaf base. Small fragrant flowers (the female whitish, the male waxy and cream colored), are borne on a branched spadix divided into 25 to 150 strands 12 to 30 in (30-75 cm) long on female plants, only 6 to 9 in (15-22.5 cm) long on male plants. One large inflorescence may embrace 6,000 to 10,000 flowers. Some date palms have strands bearing both male and female flowers; others may have perfect flowers. As the fruits develop, the stalk holding the cluster may elongate 6 ft (1.8 m) while it bends over because of the weight. The fruit is oblong, 1 to 3 in (2.5-7.5 cm) long, dark-brown, reddish, or yellowish-brown when ripe with thin or thickish skin, thick, sweet flesh (astringent until fully ripe) and a single, cylindrical, slender, very hard stone grooved down one side.

Julia F. Morton
Fruits of warm climates
Plant Catalog

Taro is an important staple food crop in the Pacific and has been for thousands of years. Although taro is increasingly being replaced in the diet by imported products, it remains a treasured food with many different uses. It is also very nutritious and is an important part of a healthy diet.
There are four types of taro in the Pacific Islands; all except Xanthosoma are native to the Pacific. Colocasia taro is the most widespread type with many varieties. It is mainly grown for its corm, but in some areas the stalks and leaves, which are non-vertical, are also eaten after cooking. Usually this taro is grown in rainfed ‘dry’ land, but some varieties are able to grow in irrigated terraces or swamps. The crop is important in local customs.

Healthy Pacific Lifestyle Section SPC
Healthy Pacific Lifestyle Section SPC
Plant Catalog
Morinda citrifolia (noni)

Distribution: Native to Southeast Asia (Indonesia) and Australia, it now is found throughout the tropics.
Size: Typically 3–6 m (10–20 ft) tall at maturity. Habitat Widely adapted to the tropics, 1–800 m (0–2600 ft) depending on latitude, mean annual temperatures of 20–35°C (68–95°F), annual rainfall of 250–4000 mm (10–160in).
Vegetation: Associated with a wide range of common coastal and littoral forest shrubs, as well as numerous cultivated plants.
Soils: Grows in an extremely wide range of soils.
Growth rate: Moderate, generally 0.75–1.5 m/yr (2.5–5 ft/yr).
Main agroforestry: uses Coastal protection, homegardens.
Main products: Medicinal.
Yields: Up to 80,000 kg of fruit per hectare (71,000 lb/ac) annually.
Intercropping: Traditionally grown in mixed cropping systems throughout the Pacific.
Invasive potential: Has naturalized outside its native range in many locations throughout the Pacific and the tropics, although it is rarely considered a pest.

Scot C. Nelson
Permanent Agriculture Resources
Plant Catalog
Hawaiian Noni

Morinda citrifolia
The part s of t he noni plant most used for t heir medicinal and nutritional purposes are the fruit, seeds, bark, leaves, and flowers. Virtually every part of the noni plant is utilized for its individual medicinal properties; however, it is the fruit portion that is regarded as its most valuable. The seeds have a purgative action, the leaves are used to treat external inflammations and relieve pain, the bark has strong astringent properties and can treat malaria, the root extracts lower blood pressure, the flower essences relieve eye inflammations and the fruit has a number of medicinal actions.
Contents of the book:

  • Noni use and history
  • traditional uses of noni
  • Xeronine: the secret of noni?
  • Noni Processing
  • Modern medicinal applications of noni
Rita Elkins
Woodland Publishing
Plant Catalog

Morinda citrifolia L.
Noni, is also known as Indian mulberry, great morinda, cheezefruit, morinda, mouse’s pineapple, yellow root, jumbie breadfruit, hog apple, pain killer, mengkudu, nono, feyukke friudem rhubarbe caraïbe, bilimbi, pomme-macaque, and pomme de singe. It is a large evergreen shrub or small tree to 6 m or more in height and 13 cm or more in stem diameter. Sapwood is yellow-brown and soft. The bark is gray or brown, smoothish to slightly rough. Twigs are light green and four-angled. The opposite leaves are attached by stout petioles 1 to 2 cm long. The blades are dark green and shiny, ovate or elliptic, 14 to 30 cm long by 8 to 18 cm broad, and have prominent veins.

John K. Francis
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
Plant Catalog
Horticultural Varieties of Citrus

In general appearance and other respects, the citrus fruits of principal commercial importance fall into four, reasonably-well-defined horticultural groups: the oranges, the mandarins, the pummelos and grapefruits, and the common acid members. The common acid group includes three subgroups the citrons, lemons, and limes. While the writer's competence does not extend to all the citrus fruits that have horticultural importance, the considerable number with which he is acquainted all exhibit horticultural resemblances with one or more of these groups and subgroups that suggest some degree of relationship. In most instances, it is not difficult to determine the group of closest resemblance and probable or possible relationship. Therefore, in this treatment, for each of the natural groups presented there is a subsection covering fruits of horticultural importance that most closely resemble the group in question. In some instances, however, lack of first-hand acquaintance with a fruit has necessitated provisional placement.
In addition to the fruit groups mentioned above, all of which belong to the genus Citrus, there are the kumquats, which belong to the closely related genus Fortunella, and the so-called but much more distantly related trifoliate orange, Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf. The kumquats comprise a group of considerable importance for their fruits. The trifoliate orange, together with its hybrids, is of significance as a rootstock.

Robert Willard Hodgson
University of California, Davis
Plant Catalog
Cassava in Latin America and the Caribbean

This study presents cassava’s trends in production, trade, and utilization for Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. This report also analyses the constraints and opportunities for system development in these countries.

Clair Hershey
Guy Henry
Rupert Best
Carlos Iglesias
Plant Catalog
Blueberries: Organic Production



A complete guide for organic blueberry production. This publication covers cultural practices, soils and fertility, and pests and diseases management. In addition there is a brief marketing analysis.

List of Topics:

  • Choosing a Variety
  • Soils and Fertility
  • Cultural Considerations
  • Insect Pests
  • Diseases
  • Bird and Rodent Control
  • Marketing
  • Economics
George L. Kuepper
Steve Diver
ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
Plant Catalog