Field Evaluation of Ethnic Vegetable Crops of Asian and Hispanic Origin in South Florida

Xiaohui Fan, Shouan Zhang, Xiaodan Mo, Yuqing Fu, Zhiguang Liu


A total of 23 and 27 ethnic vegetables were evaluated for their adaptability to grow under field conditions of south Florida during May–August in 2011 and 2012, respectively, on the farm of the University of Florida’s Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, FL. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of select ethnic vegetable crops in south Florida and to suggest suitable ethnic vegetables to growers in this region. In 2011, 10 vegetable crops in the Asian Indian group, six in the Chinese group, five in the Mexican group, and two in the Puerto Rican group were evaluated. In 2012, 11 vegetable crops in the Asian Indian group, eight in the Chinese group, six in the Mexican group, and two in the Puerto Rican group were tested. Evaluation was based on overall performance of these vegetable crops in the field and selected parameters related to plant growth. Ten vegetables grew well during May–August of both years; they were amaranth, Asian Indian green zobo, malabar spinach (‘Red Vine’ and ‘Green Vine’), and Swiss chard (‘Bionda Di Lyon’, ‘Bright Yellow’, and ‘Rhubarb’) from the Asian Indian group; Shanghai bok choy and pac choi ‘Black Summer F1’ from the Chinese group, and papalo from the Mexican group. Eight vegetables grew well in either year, including radish (‘Icicle’) from the Asian Indian group, garland chrysanthemum from the Chinese group, yellow purslane, red purslane, Cuban oregano, and magenta spreen from the Mexican group, and dandelion and lettuce from the Puerto Rican group. Five vegetables grew very slowly with low yield in both years and are not suitable to grow in south Florida during summer: Chinese leek flower chives, garlic chives, and sugar pea from the Chinese group, and sorrel and fenugreek from the Asian Indian group. Further experiments need to be conducted and cost-benefit analyses need to be determined before ethnic vegetables are recommended to farmers in south Florida.


ethnic crops, Florida agriculture, Asian and Hispanic crops

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283