Below is a list of crop biology documents from the OECD, along with a brief description of each document. Click here to view all crop biology documents linked on this website.

When viewing crop biology documents, please refer to the OECD’s Revised Points to Consider on Consensus Documents on the Biology of Cultivated Plants, which provides a structured explanatory checklist to be used by authors of consensus documents.

CropScientific NameDescription
Banana/PlantainMusa spp.

Edible bananas and plantains belong primarily to Musa section Musa (traditionally Eumusa). Within this section, the originally Asian species Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana have provided the sources for domestication and development of the great majority of edible fruit. Dessert and cooking bananas and plantains are major foods worldwide, cultivated in over 130 countries throughout tropical regions and in some subtropical regions, in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Pacific. Global production is difficult to determine because the plants are so often grown locally in small plots (e.g. household gardens) and consumed locally. The reported area cultivated worldwide in 2006 was 4.2 million hectares of bananas and 5.4 Mha of plantains, with a world production of 70.8 million metric tonnes of bananas and 34.0 Mmt of plantains (FAO, 2008). The international trade, which involves just a few varieties of fruit, accounts for 15% of production. In addition to the edible species, Musa textilis (abacá, Manila hemp) is important for fibre production, and there are several ornamental species (Häkkinen, 2007).

Brassica CropsBrassica spp.

The plants within the family Brassicaceae constitute one of the world’s most economically important plant groups. They range from noxious weeds to leaf and root vegetables to oilseed and condiment crops. The cole vegetables are perhaps the best known group. Indeed the Brassica vegetables are a dietary staple in every part of the world with the possible exception of the tropics.

Chili Pepper, Hot Pepper, and Sweet PepperCapsicum annuum L.

Capsicum annuum L. is a dicotyledonous flowering plant commonly grown worldwide, with many general names in English, such as hot pepper, chili, chilli or chile pepper, and as well sweet pepper and bell pepper. Sometimes the plant is just called pepper, which however is often reserved for the earlier known Asian Piper nigrum (black pepper, white pepper) in the family Piperaceae. The pre-Columbian, indigenous Nahua (Aztec) Amerindian name for the plant was transcribed as chilli or chili, and the usual name in Spanish is chile, which results in the plurals of chillies, chilies, and chiles (Bosland, 1996). Other broad names for C. annuum relate more to particular varieties or strains, culinary uses, and ripeness, such as jalapeño, Cayenne, pimento (pimiento), paprika, red, and green peppers. Furthermore, four other less commonly cultivated Capsicum species are also considered chile peppers, and two of these species are similar and closely related to C. annuum.

CassavaManihot esculenta Crantz

Three subspecies of cassava have been recognized: Manihot esculenta ssp. esculenta is the cultivated strain, and M. esculenta ssp. flabellifolia and M. esculenta ssp. peruviana are wild forms (Allem, 1999, 2002). In this document, “cassava” will be used to refer to the cultivated strain, M. esculenta ssp. esculenta. Common synonyms in other languages are manioc (French), mandioca, macaxeira, and aipim (Portuguese), yuca (Spanish), and manioca (Italian).

Common BeanPhaseolus vulgaris L.

The genus Phaseolus is large, including approximately 80 cultivated and wild species, but P. vulgaris is the most widely cultivated species (Purseglove, 1968; Freytag and Debouck, 2002; Bailey, 1975; Porch et al., 2013). The most closely related species to P. vulgaris are P. albescens, P. coccineus, P costaricensis, P. dumosus, P. parvifolius, and P. persistentus (Table 1.) (Chacón et al., 2007; Broughton et al., 2003; Bellucci et al., 2014; Delgado-Salinas et al, 2006). In addition to P. vulgaris, four other Phaseolus species are cultivated: P. dumosus (year bean), P. coccineus (scarlet runner), P. acutifolius (tepary bean), and P. lunatus (lima bean) (Bellucci et al., 2014; Lioi and Piergiovanni, 2013).

CottonGossypium spp.

Generally cotton refers to four species of the genus Gossypium L. apparently domesticated
independently in four separate regions, in both the Old World and the New World (Sauer, 1993; Brubaker et al., 1999c). The word is derived from the Arabic “quotn”, “kutum” or “gutum” and refers to the crop that produces spinnable fibres on the seed coat (Lee, 1984; Smith, 1995). Gossypium (cotton) comprises approximately 50 species worldwide in the arid to semi-arid tropics and subtropics (Fryxell, 1992; Wendel and Cronn, 2003).

CowpeaVigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.

Cowpea Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) is grown in tropical Africa, Asia, North and South America mostly as a grain, but also as a vegetable and fodder crop. It is favoured because of its wide adaptation and tolerance to several stresses. It is an important food source and is estimated to be the major protein source for more than 200 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and is in the top ten fresh vegetables in China.

Maize (Corn)Zea mays

Maize, or corn, is a member of the Maydeae tribe of the grass family, Poaceae. It is a robust
monoecious annual plant, which requires the help of man to disperse its seeds for propagation and survival. Corn is the most efficient plant for capturing the energy of the sun and converting it into food, it has a great plasticity adapting to extreme and different conditions of humidity, sunlight, altitude, and temperature. It can only be crossed experimentally with the genus Tripsacum, however member species of its own genus (teosinte) easily hybridise with it under natural conditions.

PapayaCarica papaya

Papaya, Carica papaya L., is an almost herbaceous (succulently soft-wooded), typically
unbranched small tree in the family Caricaceae. Europeans first encountered papaya in the Western Hemisphere tropics by at least the early 1500s (Sauer, 1966), and various interests were soon disseminating it widely (Ferrão, 1992). Papaya is now cultivated worldwide in tropical and subtropical climates mainly for its melon-like fruit.

PotatoSolanum tuberosum subsp. tuberosum

This consensus document addresses the biology of the potato (Solanum tuberosum subsp. tuberosum). It contains general information on the taxonomy, morphology, and centre of diversity of the species which can be of importance during a risk assessment (for example, information on reproductive biology, the possibility of crosses, and ecology). In regard to intra- and interspecific crosses, emphasis has been given to the conditions which make a cross possible rather than listing all successful crosses. Such a list would be very long and subject to frequent changes. Only hybridisation events not requiring human intervention are considered.

RiceOryza sativa

Rice is grown worldwide and is a staple food for about a half of the world’s population. It is a nutritious grain crop which contains carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, minerals, etc. Rice straw is an important animal feed in many countries.

SoybeanGlycine max (L.) Merr.

Cultivated soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr., is a diploidized tetraploid (2n=40), in the family Leguminosae, the subfamily Papilionoideae, the tribe Phaseoleae, the genus Glycine Willd. and the subgenus Soja (Moench). It is an erect, bushy herbaceous annual that can reach a height of 1.5 metres. Three types of growth habit can be found amongst soybean cultivars: determinate, semi-determinate and indeterminate (Bernard and Weiss, 1973). Determinate growth is characterised by the cessation of vegetative activity of the terminal bud when it becomes an inflorescence at both axillary and terminal racemes. Determinate genotypes are primarily grown in the southern United States (Maturity Groups V to X). Indeterminate genotypes continue vegetative activity throughout the flowering period and are grown primarily in central and northern regions of North America (Maturity Groups 000 to IV). Semideterminate types have indeterminate stems that terminate vegetative growth abruptly after the flowering period. None of the soybean varieties are frost tolerant, and they do not survive freezing winter conditions.

Sugar BeetBeta Vulgaris L.

Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L. ssp. vulgaris var. altissima) belongs to the family Chenopodiaceae and the genus B. vulgaris comprises several cultivated forms of B. vulgaris subsp. vulgaris. Cultivars include leaf beet (var. cicla) and beetroot (root beet USA).

SugarcaneSaccharum spp.

Sugar is commercially produced from either sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) or sugarcane (Saccharum spp.). Sugarcane is a tall-growing monocotyledonous crop that is cultivated in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, primarily for its ability to store high concentrations of sucrose, or sugar, in the stem. Modern sugarcane cultivars that are cultivated for sugar production are founded on interspecific hybrids between Saccharum spontaneum and S. officinarum (Saccharum spp.) that were then subjected to repeated backcrosses to S. officinarum. Commercial varieties in use today are typically generated by crosses between other commercial or pre-commercial hybrids. Sugarcane is an ancient crop and its use as a garden crop dates back to around 2500 BC. The centres of origin for the ancestral species giving rise to sugarcane are thought to be Papua New Guinea, China and India. At present sugarcane is grown as a commercial crop primarily in South America (e.g. Brazil, Colombia and Argentina), North/Central America (e.g. Mexico, USA, and Guatemala), Asia (e.g. India, China and Thailand), Africa (e.g. South Africa, Zimbabwe and Egypt), Australia and the Pacific islands. Cultivation practices vary throughout the world, but this document aims to outline the main features of sugarcane cultivation. Sugarcane in this document refers to the Saccharum spp. hybrids as described above. The information presented is that which is available for each country after a comprehensive literature review.

SunflowerHelianthus annuus L.

The sunflower belongs to the genus Helianthus in the Composite family (Asterales order), which includes species with very diverse morphologies (herbs, shrubs, lianas, etc.). The genus Helianthus belongs to the Heliantheae tribe. This includes approximately 50 species originating in North and Central America.

Bread WheatTriticum aestivum

Triticum aestivum, bread wheat, belongs to the order Poales (Glumiflorae), family Poaceae (Gramineae), tribe Triticeae, genus Triticum. The tribe Triticeae consists of 18 genera which are divided into two sub-groups, the Triticinae and the Hordeinae. The major genera in the sub-group Triticinae are TriticumAegilopsSecaleAgropyron and Haynaldia (Odenbach 1985, Zeller 1985, Körber-Grohne 1988).

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