Root vegetable
Root vegetables are plant roots used as vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

s. Here "root" means any underground part of a plant.

Root vegetables are generally storage organ
Storage organ
A storage organ is a part of a plant specifically modified for storage of energy or water. Storage organs often grow underground, where they are better protected from attack by herbivores. Plants that have an underground storage organ are called geophytes in the Raunkiær plant life-form...

s, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrate
A carbohydrate is an organic compound with the empirical formula ; that is, consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a hydrogen:oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 . However, there are exceptions to this. One common example would be deoxyribose, a component of DNA, which has the empirical...

s. They differ in the concentration and the balance between sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

s, starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

es, and other types of carbohydrate. Of particular economic importance are those with a high carbohydrate concentration in the form of starch. Starchy root vegetables are important staple food
Staple food
A staple food is one that is eaten regularly and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a diet, and that supplies a high proportion of energy and nutrient needs. Most people live on a diet based on one or more staples...

s, particularly in tropical regions, overshadowing cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

s throughout much of West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

, Central Africa
Central Africa
Central Africa is a core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda....

, and Oceania
Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Conceptions of what constitutes Oceania range from the coral atolls and volcanic islands of the South Pacific to the entire insular region between Asia and the Americas, including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago...

, where they are used directly or mashed to make fufu
Fufu, , is a staple snack of West and Central Africa. It is a thick paste usually made by boiling starchy root vegetables in water and pounding with a mortar and pestle until the desired consistency is reached...

 or poi
Poi (food)
Poi is a Hawaiian word for the primary Polynesian staple food made from the corm of the taro plant . Poi is produced by mashing the cooked corm until it is a highly viscous fluid...


Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

 distinguishes true root
In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial or aerating . Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either...

s such as tuberous roots and taproot
A taproot is an enlarged, somewhat straight to tapering plant root that grows vertically downward. It forms a center from which other roots sprout laterally.Plants with taproots are difficult to transplant...

s from non-roots such as tuber
Tubers are various types of modified plant structures that are enlarged to store nutrients. They are used by plants to survive the winter or dry months and provide energy and nutrients for regrowth during the next growing season and they are a means of asexual reproduction...

s, rhizome
In botany and dendrology, a rhizome is a characteristically horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes...

s, corm
A corm is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ used by some plants to survive winter or other adverse conditions such as summer drought and heat ....

s, and bulb
A bulb is a short stem with fleshy leaves or leaf bases. The leaves often function as food storage organs during dormancy.A bulb's leaf bases, known as scales, generally do not support leaves, but contain food reserves to enable the plant to survive adverse conditions. At the center of the bulb is...

s, though some contain both taproot and hypocotyl
The hypocotyl is the stem of a germinating seedling, found below the cotyledons and above the radicle .-Dicots:...

 tissue, making it difficult to tell some types apart.