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The 8 Types of Vegetables, Based on What Part Is Edible


When it comes to edible plants, descriptions, and classifications are necessary and helpful. But the vegetables we buy and include in our meals are classified in different ways. Such as the type of plant it is, its growth pattern, and a few others.

 Here we take a closer look at their classification as regards which part of the vegetable is edible. It may be the leaves, the stems, the roots, or even the flowers, or the seeds. And it’s not unusual for a vegetable to have more than one part that is edible. Preparation and style of cooking play a big part in it.

 From that viewpoint, we get to understand and appreciate them more. And this may inspire you in creating more recipes with more vegetable ingredients.

Below are the 8 types of vegetables and their edible parts.



BULB VEGETABLE | 1st of the 8 types of vegetables

Bulb Vegetables











The bulb vegetable has a short stem used as food storage while in its dormant stage. That’s why it’s swollen and bulging. Its growth and development are halted for a while to save energy. Bulbs have a strong, quite aromatic odor. And it’s made up of layers, and may be consumed raw, or used as a garnish to flavor a dish.

A perfect example is an onion. It has a pungent odor that when you peel away the skin and cut up the bulb, the odor would instantly irritate the eyes. That would activate the tear glands to wash away the irritant. You can also peel away the layers. You can dice the onion or cut it up into quarters or pieces. Depending on the recipe, it can be used whole, especially the smaller ones. Or you can conveniently dice, slice, or cube the layers of the onion. Here are compelling reasons you should have them in your meals.


  • Has cancer-preventing benefits
  • Boosts the body’s immune system
  • Contributes to fiber in meals good for controlling cholesterol
  • Some bulb vegetables, like garlic, strengthen the lymphatic system ridding the body of harmful wastes
  • Contains sulfur, which eliminates heavy metals and parasites
  • Pungent varieties can lung diseases like asthma and bronchitis

 IN THIS GROUP: fennel, garlic, leek, onion, scallion, shallot, spring onion.


FLOWER VEGETABLE | 2nd of the 8 types of vegetables


Plants bear flowers and the flowers in this group are the edible ones. Like any plant, it’s got roots, stem, and leaves, but those parts are not edible. These flower vegetables are often used in many kinds of recipes because of their pleasant flavor. The multitude of colors and shapes of the petals add a visual treat that enhances the dining experience.

Strictly speaking, though, they are flowers or blossoms, as viewed from a scientific vantage point. But due to their savory or umami taste, which is how vegetables taste, they’re used as ingredients for viands and soups. Now, that makes them vegetables as well.


  • low in carbohydrate and fat content
  • promotes healthy gut
  • supports cardiovascular health
  • good source of vitamins and minerals

IN THIS GROUP: agati, artichoke, banana, broccoli, cauliflower, lotus,


FRUIT VEGETABLE | 3rd of the 8 types of vegetables

Fruit Vegetables

It might feel awkward for many to say “fruit vegetables” as we’ve been used to saying either: “it’s a fruit” or “that’s a veggie.” In the realm of plant biology, these vegetables are classified as fruits. And all fruits develop from flowers, although not all flowers become fruits.

That’s why in the culinary arts, they are used as ingredients in cooking. But that’s because the ones in this group are in reality fruits that are “used” as vegetables in preparing or cooking meals. Again, that’s because of their savory flavor.

For example, avocado is a fruit that is delicious eaten as is. But in guacamole, it’s the main vegetable ingredient for that famous Mexican salad. It can also be a dip for finger foods or a spread for crackers and sandwiches. Red, green, and yellow bell peppers are also great examples of fruit vegetables.


  • Source of dietary fiber to maintain gut health
  • Vitamin C content benefits skin health
  • Provides soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Helps in normalizing blood sugar level

IN THIS GROUP: avocado, bell pepper, bitter melon, cucumbers, eggplants, squash, and tomatoes.


LEAFY VEGETABLE | 4th of the 8 types of vegetables

Leafy Vegetables

The leaves of the vegetables under this group are the edible ones used in cooking or for vegetable salads. They can be eaten raw so you get their full nutrients that may be lost or decreased by cooking. But they can also be cooked or blanched, and still provide a decent amount of the good, healthy stuff.

According to Wikipedia, leafy vegetable species that have been identified so far have reached almost one thousand. That’s a lot and couple it with the other names to identify leafy vegetables. Leaf vegetables, salad greens, pot herbs, vegetable greens, greens. Now, continue reading to know why they’re good for your health.


  • Source of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that help fight and prevent diseases
  • Can help prevent and fight ailments such as forms of cancer
  • Lowers risk of developing cardiovascular ailments
  • Helps prevent pot belly
  • Fights toxins
  • Supports the health of body tissues
  • Contributes to slowing down mental decline

IN THIS GROUP: arugula, bok choy, broccoli rabe, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, chard, collard greens, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens, watercress.


POD and SEED VEGETABLES | 5th of the 8 types of vegetables

Lotus Pods and Seeds

Also called legumes, these vegetables have pods that hold seeds. Aside from providing us with fiber and protein, they also are a good source of minerals. Grocery stores and farmer’s markets carry wide varieties of pod and seed vegetables. Some varieties have only the seeds that can be eaten. Other kinds of seeds have pods that are also edible. Read the reasons they’re good for you and some vegetables to try out.


  • Contributes to decreasing and fighting inflammation
  • Slows down aging
  • Lowers the risk of heart ailments
  • Maintains the health of the blood cells
  • Strengthens brain function
  • Normalizes rate of digestion by providing dietary fiber
  • Regular intake aids in maintaining ideal weight and prevents obesity

IN THIS GROUP: Agati, beans, chia seeds, chickpeas, flax seeds, hemp seeds, horse gram, lentils, licorice, okra, oregano, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, snow pea, soybeans, sunflower seeds, tarwi, and winged beans.


ROOT VEGETABLE | 6th of the 8 types of vegetables

Assorted Types of Root Vegetables

These are the vegetable plants whose edible parts grow underground, which is the roots. They are enlarged because they serve as containers for nutrients as they grow. Specifically, they store carbohydrates for energy. These roots may be rounded or longer, depending on the kind of vegetable.

In this group are also vegetables that don’t have the typical kind of roots but are modified. One is the corm which is a swollen or enlarged stem that stores nutrients. The other is the rhizome which is a modified plant stem that grows horizontally underground. Roots and shoots grow out of the rhizome’s nodes. Try out some of the listed stem vegetables below.


  • Good source of fiber
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Low in calories, cholesterol, and fats benefiting heart health
  • Provides carotenoids that are good for eye health and lower the risk of certain types of cancer
  • Also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium

IN THIS GROUP: beet, carrot, celery, Chinese water chestnut, horseradish, parsnip, radish, rutabaga, sweet potato, turmeric, turnip.


STEM VEGETABLE | 7th of the 8 types of vegetables


These are vegetable plants that grow above ground with stems that are used for food storage. Depending on the plant species, they grow on or above the ground, or below ground. The stems again function as storage for their nutrients. They are modified stems in other words.

An advantage of eating stem vegetables is that you don’t have to cut out any part as it is wholly edible. Take note of the benefits below, and start including them in your meals.


  • All parts (except the roots) are edible
  • Provides dietary fiber
  • Source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
  • Can be consumed raw, steamed, or blanched
  • Contributes to glowing skin

IN THIS GROUP: asparagus, bamboo shoots, cardoon, celery, chard, fennel, fiddlehead, prickly pear (Opuntia cactus), rhubarb.


TUBER VEGETABLE | 8th of the 8 types of vegetables

Cassava Roots with Slices

Under this group, vegetables develop the lower part of their stem as food or nutrient storage, making it thicker or bulbous in contrast with the rest of the stem. Some have their storage stems partially underground. To put it another way, tuber vegetables do not grow or have root tissues. Instead, they have rhizomes, or elongated stems that become enlarged or swollen due to the stored nutrients. These nutrients are needed to complete its growth cycle. Below are the reasons they must be in your diet.


  • Powers up the immune system
  • Helps digestion
  • Regularizes weight
  • Good source of energy
  • Provides fiber and nutrients

IN THIS GROUP: Artichoke, cassava, cushcush, earthnut pea, ginger, jicama, kumara, mashua, potato, sweet potato, taro, and yam.


On a final note…

Plant-based nutrition has become an important aspect of our quest for optimum health and wellness. And to learn more about vegetables would not only be very helpful but a must. So, make an effort to know the parts of vegetables that are edible, what nutrients they contain, and what diseases they could prevent and heal.





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