New World crops

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The phrase "New World Crops" is usually used to describe crops that were native to North and South America before 1492 and not found anywhere else in the world at that time. Many of these crops have since come to be grown around the world and have often become an integral part of various old world cultures' cuisines.


Table of Ancient New World Crops[1]
Grains Little barley, maize (corn), maygrass, wild rice
Pseudograins Amaranth, knotweed, goosefoot (quinoa), sunflower
Beans Common bean, lima bean, peanut, scarlet runner bean, tepary bean
Fiber Agave, yucca, long-staple and upland cotton
Roots and Tubers Arrowroot, jicama, Camas root, hopniss, leren, manioc (yuca, cassava), mashua, oca, potato, sweet potato, ulluco, yacon
Fruits Avocado, blueberry, cherimoya, cranberry, guava (guayaba), huckleberry, papaya, pawpaw, passionfruit, peppers, pineapple, prickly pear (tuna), commercial strawberries, tomato, tomatillo
Melons Chayote, squashes (including pumpkins)
Meat and poultry Coypu, guinea pig, llama, muscovy duck, turkey
Nuts American chestnut, Black walnut, Brazil nut, cashew, hickory, pecans, shagbark hickory
Other Achiote (annatto), canna, chicle (key ingredient in chewing gum and rubber), coca, cocoa, cochineal (red dye), logwood, maple syrup, poinsettia, rubber, tobacco, vanilla


The new world developed agriculture much later than the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. The following tables illustrate the crops that were grown and the chronology of domestication.

Timeline of New World Crop Cultivation
Date Crops Location
8000BC[2] Squash Oaxaca, Mexico
5500BC Peanut [3] South America
8000-5000 BC Potato [4] Peruvian Andes
6000-4000BC[5] Peppers Oaxaca, Mexico
2500BC[6] Cotton Peru
2300-2200BC[2][7] Maize Mexico, Central America
5000BC[8] Avocados Mexico
4000BC Common Bean Central America
2000BC Sunflowers
1500BC Cocoa[9] Mexico

See also


  1. Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs and Steel, W. W. Norton & Company, 1999, p. 126.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Smith, Bruce D. (February 2001). "Documenting plant domestication: The consilience of biological and archaeological approaches". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 98 (4): 1324–1326. doi:10.1073/pnas.98.4.1324. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  3. "Earliest-Known Evidence Of Peanut, Cotton And Squash Farming Found". Science Daily. June 29, 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  4. Spooner, DM; et al. (2005). "A single domestication for potato based on multilocus amplified fragment length polymorphism genotyping". PNAS. 102 (41): 14694–99. PMC 1253605Freely accessible. PMID 16203994. doi:10.1073/pnas.0507400102. 
  5. Perry, Linda; Kent V. Flannery (July 17, 2007). "Precolumbian use of chili peppers in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 104 (29): 11905–11909. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704936104. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  6. "Cotton: The Fiber of Life". McGraw Hill. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  7. Ranere, Anthony J.; Dolores R. Piper; Irene Holst; Ruth Dickau; José Iriarte (January 23, 2009). "The cultural and chronological context of early Holocene maize and squash domestication in the Central Balsas River Valley, Mexico". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 106 (13): 5014–5018. PMC 2664064Freely accessible. PMID 19307573. doi:10.1073/pnas.0812590106. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  8. Galindo-Tovar, María Elena; Arzate-Fernández, Amaury M.; Ogata-Aguilar, Nisao; and Landero-Torres, Ivonne (2007). "The avocado (Persea americana, Lauraceae) crop in Mesoamerica: 10,000 years of history" (PDF). Harvard Papers in Botany. 12 (2): 325–334, page 325. JSTOR 41761865. doi:10.3100/1043-4534(2007)12[325:TAPALC]2.0.CO;2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 October 2015. 
  9. "History of Chocolate Timeline - Origin of Chocolate".