Grouping Vegetables to Plant Families


Crop Rotation and What it Means to Your Plot

Grouping plants by botanical family makes it possible to save space in your plot and promote mutual protection among vegetables. When grouping vegetables take the 11 families into account.

Crop rotation is a common practice in the garden, giving vegetable family-specific diseases time to die out before reintroducing families back into the same area years later. For example; Should you plant onions or any of the Liliaceae family in the same place as the previous year expect; yields to decrease, pests and diseases to proliferate, weeds to increase and nutrients to be depleted in your plot.

It can be very hard to know which vegetables belong to the different families just from looking at them, but understanding the major vegetable plant families will make the task a little less daunting. Most home vegetable gardeners grow several plant families in any given year. Using this handy vegetable families list will help keep rotations straight and help you get started with the appropriate family group.


The Umbelliferae Family

The Umbelliferae (Alias: Apiaceae or Carrot) family includes plants whose defining characteristics is the arrangement of their flowers in Umbels, hence their name. Some species, such as hemlock, can be poisonous, while others are edible.

A few examples: carrots, celery, parsnips, fennel, parsley, coriander, chervil, celeriac and dill


The Lamiaceae Family

The Lamiaceae (Alias: Mint) family (not technically vegetables) includes plants with leaves containing small glands the secrete essential oils, making these plants highly fragrant. That is why they are used in herbal teas (mint, lemon balm), jams (mint), cooking (sage, thyme, savory), perfumes (oregano, lavender), and more.

A few examples: basil, catnip, hyssop, lavender, marjoram, oregano, savory, sage and thyme.


The Solanaceae Family

The Solanaceae (Alias: Nightshade) family includes herbaceous plants, shrubs, trees and vines that grow in temperate to tropical regions. Sweet potatoes are un-botanically related

A few examples: eggplants, bell peppers, potatoes, tomatillos, Jalapeño, Cayenne pepper


The Asteraceae Family

The Asteraceae (Alias: Compositae, Aster or Sunflower) family is very large, including nearly 13,000 species, mostly herbaceous plants but also some trees, shrubs, and vines.

A few examples: marigold, lettuce, artichoke, chamomile, tarragon, chicory and endive


The Brassicaceae Family

The Brassicaceae (Alias: Cruciferae, Cole Crop or Mustard) family is characterized by a siliquose fruit and four-sepaled flower, with four petals in a cross shape and six stamens, including to smaller ones.

A few examples: cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, watercress, turnips, radishes, rutabaga, arugula, rapini, bok choy, kale, kohlrabi and mustards


The Liliaceae Family

The Liliaceae (Alias: Allium or Lily) family includes plants with leaves that are usually vertical and very long, as well as flowers with six colourful petals. The species can be ornamental or medicinal, or can be eaten or used to make textiles and require rotation. Although asparagus must be left in the same place for several years before, selecting a new site.

A few examples: garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, chives, shallots and crocus(saffron)


The Rosaceae Family

The Rosaceae (Alias: Rose) family is arguably one of the six most economically important crop plant families for pollinator bees and includes herbaceous and woody plants with alternate leaves and either simple or composite flowers, usually pinkish in colour.

A few examples: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, pears and plums


The Cucurbitaceae Family

The Cucurbitaceae (Alias: Cucumber, Squash or Gourd) family includes herbaceous and woody plants (and a few very rare shrubs), usually rampant or else climbing, using spiral tendrils. The flowers are often showy and unisex producing large fruits known as pepos. They live in temperate, hot and tropical regions

A few examples: cucumber, zucchini, pumpkins, summer squash, melons, watermelon and winter squash.


The Fabaceae Family

The Fabaceae (Alias: Legumes, Pulses, Pea or Bean) family, commonly known as pulses. Includes herbaceous plants, shrubs, trees and vines. This family is present in regions that range from cold to tropical. Most legumes will produce a pod that, release their seeds by splitting open along two seams, and carry their seeds in a single line, though some, such as peanuts do not naturally open.

A few examples: beans, peas, soy, lentils, edamame and peanuts.


The Chenopodiaceae Family

The Chenopodiaceae (Alias: Goosefoot) Family includes plants without petals that often grow in soil rich in salts and nitrates. Most plants in this family are edible in salads

A few examples: beets, swiss chard, and spinach


The Poaceae Family

The Poaceae (Alias: Grains or Grass) Family, The poaceae are the world’s single most important source of food. They rank among the top five families of flowering plants in terms of the number of species and are the most abundant and important family of the earth’s flora. They can grow on all continents and account for about 24 percent of the earth’s vegetation.

A few examples: Lemongrass, barley, oats, corn/maize, wheat, rice, barley and millet.