Agricultural crops can be classified into groups for easy understanding. These include life cycle and uses.
CLASSIFICATION BASED ON LIFE CYCLE:
Crops are usually classified according to their life span which are:
ANNUAL CROPS: These are crops which complete their life cycle within one year. examples include maize, rice, yam, millet, groundnut etc.
BIENNIAL CROPS: These are crops that take two seasons to complete their life cycle. Examples include cocoyam, carrots, cabbage etc.
PERENNIAL CROPS: They are crops which take more than two years to complete their life cycle. They are also known as permanent crops. Examples are : oil palm, cocoa, rubber, orange, mango, banana etc.
CLASSIFICATION BASED ON USES: Crops are as well classified based on their uses which include the following:
CEREALS CROPS- They are crops belong to the grass family and they provide carbohydrate. Examples are: maize, millet, rice, guinea corn, wheat, barley, oat etc.
LEGUMES: They are protein-rich grain e.g. cowpea, groundnut, beans, soya beans etc.
ROOT AND TUBER CROPS: These crops produce tuber under the ground that is, they store food in the root or tuber. They are the major sources of carbohydrate e.g. yam, sweet potatoes, carrot, cassava, cocoyam etc.
VEGETABLE CROPS- These are crops grown for their leaves or fruits. The leaves or fruits are eaten fresh or cooked. They supply vitamins and minerals e.g. water leaf, bitter leaf, fluted pumpkin, lettuce, amaranthus, tomato, okra, garden egg etc.
FRUIT CROPS- These are crops grown mainly for the fruit they produce. They also provide vitamins and minerals e.g. banana, orange, pineapple, pawpaw, mango, guava etc.
BEVERAGE CROPS- These crops are used in producing food drinks e.g. cocoa, coffee, tea, kolanut etc.
SPICES- These crops add flavor to our food. They also provide vitamins and minerals e.g. onion, pepper, ginger, garlic etc.
OIL CROPS- These crops produce fruits/seeds which contain oil that are extracted and used by man for both domestic and industrial purposes e.g. oil palm, groundnut, sun flower, melon, coconut,, cotton etc.
FIBRE CROP- These crops produce materials used in making cloths, thread and textile e.g. cotton, jute, sisal, kenaf etc
LACTIX CROPS- These are crops which produce some white sticky liquid or latex used in plastic industries. e.g. rubber
All the plants are generally categorized into groups. The variation is based on the features they possess. Crops can be horticultural, agronomic or cash.
They can be vegetables, fruit, pulses and so on. All these names are used to help farmers all over the world understand crops, planting and harvest. This time we will not talk much about types of crops based on economic importance or number of cotyledons. Instead, we will focus mainly on their life cycle.
Classification of crops Knowing how plants are classified can help to improve and simplify the farmer’s job. All the useful plants grown in the farms are known as crops. Other plants that are not useful or grow where they are not wanted are simply called weeds.
Here is a short list of crops classification based on different criteria.
Division by life cycle Annual plants
Biennial plants Annual/perennial crops
By purpose of growing Horticultural crops: Agronomic crops
By economic value: Vegetables Fruit, Cereals Roots Fiber plants ,Nuts Legumes ,Spice plants ,Flowers Oil, crops Stimulants, Medical herbs, Beverage plants, Latex plants
Other types: Arable/non-arable crops Monocotyledonous/dicotyledonous plants Food/non-food harvests Let’s talk more about the classification of crops by their life cycle because all different types of plants belong to one of these groups.
Annual crops: This type of crops needs one growing season to turn from just a seed into a plant. Annual plants live for one year. Then the entire crop leaves, stems, and roots die. Farmers have to plant new seeds to get the next generation of these crops. Perennial crops Unlike annual plants, this type of crops can grow for many seasons.
After the leaves and stems die after one season, the roots are still alive. A new plant grows from the same root system the next season and so on. Some crops in this classification can even have nice leaves all year round. Most perennials blossom in spring or summer and ‘sleep’ in winter.
Biennial crops: This type of crops have longer cycle. It takes about 2 years for the plant to go through the full life cycle. Farmers who plant biennial crops see only short leaves near the ground after one year. The plant becomes fully grown and ready for harvest after two years and then it dies. Mixed type There are also plants that can act like annual and perennial crops.
Their life cycle fully depends on geography and climate. The same crops can grow faster in the south and slower in the north. Their life cycle is influenced by weather and location. It is very important to understand what life cycle your plants have, especially for new farmers.