Do These Foods Grow Above or Below the Ground?

By: Jacqueline Samaroo
Image: Charlene Collins / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Don't let this quiz uproot your concentration!

Agriculture is quite possibly the most important industry in the world. This statement holds a considerable amount of weight since without the agriculture industry, we would be left without food. The food in our cupboards, the cans and snacks that line the shelves of the local supermarket, and the produce that is on display at the market would all disappear if the global agriculture industry came to a screeching halt. While livestock is an important part of this industry (could breakfast even exist without staples like milk and eggs?), plants are a huge part of agriculture; whether it's food for human consumption or the livestock mentioned above.

Plants that we as humans have domesticated over the years come in all shapes and sizes. These range from towering trees that grow brightly colored fruits to hardy low-lying plants that bury their foodstuffs beneath the earth. In this quiz, we've taken a handful of edible plants and divided them up into two groups: those that grow below ground and those that grow above ground. Will the correct answer sprout right before you? Let's get started and find out!

The tomato plant is a species of flowering plant that actually belongs to the nightshade family. The berry that the plant produces is a popular culinary ingredient worldwide; originating in South America, it now has relatively large scale production on every continent except Antarctica.

The carrot is a species of plant that is classified as a root vegetable. Carrots can be eaten raw or cooked, and they but are often used in soups, stews, salads, and countless other other types of dishes around the world.

The jalapeno is a type of mild chili pepper (compared to other chili peppers) that is popular in the Americas. It initially originated in Mexico and is notable for being the state pepper of Texas.

Ginger is the name given to the entire flowering plant and also the edible rhizome that it produces. It is often used as a spice but can also be used to flavor drinks, like the Indian tea, Masala chai, or in ginger beer and ginger ale.

The orange is a citrus fruit that is actually a hybrid between the mandarin and the pomelo. The three largest producers of oranges in the world are Brazil, China and India.

The cabbage is a leafy plant (usually green) that is cultivated as a vegetable crop. The leafy heads usually range anywhere between 1 and 9 lb.; however, the heaviest cabbage in the world was recorded as being 138.25 lb. (62.71 kg).

Also known as the white turnip, this root vegetable is grown widely across the world, particularly in temperate regions. While it is cooked in a lot of dishes, it actually has a history of also being grown as food for livestock.

Watermelon is the name that is given to both the flowering plant and the large fruit that it produces. The plant is notably vine-like and actually originated in the northeastern reaches of Africa.

The cassava is a species of woody shrub that is grown for its starchy tuberous root. It is known by several other names, including yucca, manioc, mandioca, macaxeira and aipim.

Coffee is a grouping of plants grown for their seeds (referred to as beans) that are used to make coffee products (beverages, foods, etc.) It is notable for being one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world.

The term beetroot specifically refers to the taproot section of the beet plant. It is also used to create red food coloring and has medicinal uses as well, being one of the few sources of naturally occurring adipic acid.

The calabash is a species of vine harvested for its fruit; it is also known as the bottle-gourd and white-flowered gourd. It is notable for being one of the first plants in recorded history grown primarily for its use as a container and not as food.

The radish is a root vegetable that is oftentimes eaten raw but it is also cooked in a wide variety of dishes. It was first domesticated in parts of Europe and comes in a diverse selection of variety, which differ in size, color and flavor.

The bush carrot is a species of plant that also goes by the names Maloga bean, native bean, pencil yam and Ngarlajiyi. It has historically been a valuable food source for Aboriginal Australians.

Maize is a species of plant that is also simply referred to as corn. It was first domesticated by the original native people of Mexico and today, in terms of overall quantity, it is the second most produced crop in the world (behind sugarcane and above rice and wheat).

Ackee is the name given to the species of evergreen tree and the fruit that it produces. It has a prominent place in Caribbean cuisine; notably being the national fruit of Jamaica and a valued export from the country.

The onion is a species of plant that has been domesticated and grown for over 7,000 years. It is closely related to garlic, Chinese onion, chive and leek.

The cantaloupe is a species of plant that belongs to the gourd family, along with other melons, pumpkins, cucumbers and more. Cultivation is spread all over the world; however, China is responsible for producing approximately half of the cantaloupes in the world.

The banana is a fruit that grows above ground and can either be eaten raw or cooked in a wide variety of dishes. A lesser known fact about this fruit is that it is actually scientifically classified as a berry.

The yacón is a species of plant that primarily grows in South America, with its tuberous root being used a source of food. It actually belongs to the family Asteraceae, meaning that it is actually a daisy.

The scotch bonnet pepper is a type of chili pepper that is native to the Caribbean and Central America; it adds flavor to several regional dishes. It is regarded as being relatively hot, having a Scoville rating of anywhere between 100,000 to 350,000 SCU (comparatively, jalapenos rank between 3,500 to 8,000 SCU).

The peanut plant is a species of legume cultivated for its beneficial edible seeds. It is notable for being one of the underground growing crops with the highest production volumes, with 40 to 50 tons produced annually.

The kale is a plant that belongs to the cabbage family; alongside cabbage (headed cabbage), cauliflower, broccoli and more. Earliest records show it originating around the eastern Mediterranean starting at around 2000 B.C.

The potato plant is actually a species of perennial nightshade classified as Solanum tuberosum. The tuberous crop that it is grown for is notable for being the fourth-largest food crop in the world (after corn, wheat and rice).

The quinoa is a species of flowering plant that is cultivated as a grain crop. Despite common misconceptions, it is not a grass, instead belonging to the amaranth family.

Garlic is a species of plant that shares its genus (Allium) with other crops like the onion, leek, shallot and chive. China notably produces the vast majority of the world’s garlic, with approximately 80% of global production attributed to the country (India is a distant second with only 5%).

The pumpkin is technically a cultivar, meaning that it belongs to the same species as various types of squash and the zucchini. It is one of the oldest domesticated plants and is native to North America.

The arracacha is a species of plant that is originally native to the Andes. It is grown for its starch taproot and is notably related to celery root and the carrot.

Bok choy is a variety of Chinese cabbage popular in Southeast Asia and southern China. Other common names for the plant include bok choi, pak choi, pak choy, Chinese mustard, Chinese chard and celery mustard.

The name jicama refers to both the vine and its tuberous root that is used as a source of food. It is also known as the Mexican turnip or Mexican yam bean, and although it originated in Mexico, cultivation has since then spread to Asia.

The sweet potato is a species of plant that is actually a member of the morning glory family. It is grown for its sweet-tasting tuberous root and is not closely related to the potato, only being in the same order (Solanales).

Lettuce is a leaf vegetable that was first domesticated by the ancient Egyptians. It is a primary ingredient in salads, sandwiches and soups, and is one of the most widely produced vegetables.

Yam is a grouping of several species of plants that form edible starchy tubers. They are consumed globally (Eurasia, Africa, Americas, and Oceania) and are often used to make flour as well.

Spinach is a species of flowering plant cultivated for its edible leaves. Its native region is located in Western Asia and Central Asia; and today, China is responsible for producing at least 90% of spinach in the world.

Daikon is not a separate species but rather simply a cultivar of the winter radish. It is native to East Asia as well as parts of Southeast Asia, and these are the areas where it is primarily consumed.

The breadfruit tree is a flowering tree species that is notably related to the jackfruit tree and mulberry tree, being found in the same family. It originally originated in Oceania, but it has since then spread to Asia, Africa, South America, and most notably Central America and the Caribbean.

The word “pea” can refer to the entire plant itself, the pods that it produces and more often than not, the individual small round seeds in these pods. It has historically been an essential source of food and was thought to be domesticated first in the Mediterranean region.

The primary part of the pignut that is sought after is the chestnut shaped underground portion. The name comes from this shape and the fact that it is notably popular with pigs.

The eggplant is a species of plant that actually belongs to the nightshade family. It is cultivated for its edible fruit (usually purple) and is somewhat closely related to both the tomato and potato.

The cucumber is a species of plant that is a part of the gourd family, alongside notable members like pumpkins and melons. Originally, the cucumber was native to South Asia, but cultivation has spread to several other regions and continents.

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