This book offers an up-to-date account of important crops grown worldwide. It provides detailed discussion on the history of plant exploration, migration, domestication and distribution, and crop improvement. The text starts with the origin and diversification of cultivated plants, followed by discussion on tropical, subtropical and temperate crops that are sources of food, beverages, spices and medicines, as well as plant insecticides, timber plants and essential oil-yielding plants. The genetic and evolutionary aspects of different plants and their health benefits are highlighted. The book covers topics dealing with biodiversity conservation, petro-crops, ethnobotanical studies, and important sub-tropical and temperate plants that have commercial importance. The significance of major plant species under each category is described in detail. Illustrated with numerous well-labelled line diagrams and pictures, this book will be useful for students of botany, food and nutrition, forestry, agriculture, horticulture, plant breeding and environmental science.
S. L. Kochhar taught Economic Botany and Plant Physiology at Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, University of Delhi for more than four decades (1965-2007). His areas of interest are botany, plant science, tropical crops and plant physiology.
Preface; Acknowledgements; List of tables; List of figures; 1. Introduction; 2. Fibre and fibre-yielding plants; 3. Cereal crops; 4. Sugars, starches, and cellulose products; 5. Legumes or pulses; 6. Vegetable oils and fats; 7. Fruits and nuts; 8. Vegetables; 9. Spices, condiments and other flavourings; 10. Fumitory and masticatory materials; 11. Beverages; 12. Wood and its uses; 13. Vegetable tannins and dyestuffs; 14. Rubber; 15. Medicinal plants; 16. Insecticides and herbicides; 17. Essential oil-yielding plants; 18. Plant diversity and its conservation; 19. Petrocrops: our future fuels; 20. Ethnobotany; General references; Suggested supplementary readings; Index.