New World crops

The phrase "New World crops" is usually used to describe crops, food and otherwise, that were native to the New World (mostly the Americas) before 1492 CE and not found anywhere else at that time. Many of these crops are now grown around the world and have often become an integral part of the cuisine of various cultures in the Old World.

Notable among these crops are the Three Sisters: maize, winter squash, and climbing beans.

New World crops by type[1]
Cereals little barley, maize (corn), maygrass, wild rice
Pseudocereals amaranth, knotweed, goosefoot (quinoa), sunflower, chia
Fruits açaí, acerola, avocado, blueberry, cashew apple, cherimoya, cranberry, curuba, feijoa, granadilla or lulo, fox grape, guava (guayaba), huckleberry, jabuticaba, jerivá, jurubeba, macaúba, papaya, pawpaw, passionfruit, peppers, persimmon (American), pineapple, pitanga, pitaya, prickly pear, soursop, garden strawberry, sugar-apple, tomato, tomatillo, tucum
Melons chayote, squashes (including pumpkins)
Beans common bean, lima bean, peanut, scarlet runner bean, tepary bean
Nuts American chestnut, Araucaria, black walnut, Brazil nut, cashew, hickory, pecan, shagbark hickory
Roots and Tubers arracacha, arrowroot, jicama, camas root, hopniss, leren, manioc (yuca, cassava), mashua or cubio, oca, potato, sweet potato, ulluco, yacón, sunroot (Jerusalem artichoke)
Fiber agave, yucca, cotton (long-staple and upland)
Other achiote (annatto), balsam of Peru, canna, chicle (ingredient in chewing gum), coca leaf, cocoa bean, cochineal (red dye), guarana, logwood, maple syrup, poinsettia flowers, rubber tree, tobacco, vanilla, yerba mate


The new world developed agriculture by at least 8000 BC.[2][3][4] The following table shows when each New World crop was first domesticated.

Timeline of cultivation
Date Crops Location
8000 BCE[5] Squash Oaxaca, Mexico
8000-5000 BCE[6] Potato Peruvian Andes
6000-4000 BCE[7] Peppers Oaxaca, Mexico
5700 BCE[5][8] Maize Guerrero, Mexico
5500 BCE[9] Peanut South America
5000 BCE[10] Avocado Mexico
4000 BCE Common bean Central America
3400 BCE[11] Cotton Tehuacan Valley, Mexico
2000 BCE Sunflowers
Other beans
1500 BCE[12] Cocoa Mexico
1500 BCE[13] Sweet potato Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Colombia
500 BCE[14] Tomato Mexico

See also


  1. Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs and Steel, W. W. Norton & Company, 1999, p. 126.
  2. Smith, A.F. (1994). The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture, and Cookery. University of South Carolina Press. p. 13. ISBN 1570030006.
  3. Hirst, K. Kris. "Plant Domestication – Table of Dates and Places". Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  4. Dolores, R.; Piperno, Anthony J.; Ranere, Irene Holst; Iriarte, Jose; Dickau, Ruth (2009). "Starch grain and phytolith evidence for early ninth millennium B.P. maize from the Central Balsas River Valley, Mexico". PNAS. 106 (13): 5019–5024. Bibcode:2009PNAS..106.5019P. doi:10.1073/pnas.0812525106. PMC 2664021. PMID 19307570.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  5. 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. Bibcode:2001PNAS...98.1324S. doi:10.1073/pnas.98.4.1324. PMC 33375. PMID 11171946. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  6. Spooner, DM; et al. (2005). "A single domestication for potato based on multilocus amplified fragment length polymorphism genotyping". PNAS. 102 (41): 14694–99. Bibcode:2005PNAS..10214694S. doi:10.1073/pnas.0507400102. PMC 1253605. PMID 16203994.
  7. 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. Bibcode:2007PNAS..10411905P. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704936104. PMC 1924538. PMID 17620613. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  8. 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. Bibcode:2009PNAS..106.5014R. doi:10.1073/pnas.0812590106. PMC 2664064. PMID 19307573. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  9. "Earliest-Known Evidence Of Peanut, Cotton And Squash Farming Found". Science Daily. June 29, 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  10. Galindo-Tovar, María Elena; Arzate-Fernández, Amaury M.; Ogata-Aguilar, Nisao & 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. doi:10.3100/1043-4534(2007)12[325:TAPALC]2.0.CO;2. JSTOR 41761865. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 October 2015.
  11. "The Domestication History of Cotton". Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  12. "History of Chocolate Timeline - Origin of Chocolate".
  13. García, Jorge Luis. 2012. The Foods and crops of the Muisca: a dietary reconstruction of the intermediate chiefdoms of Bogotá (Bacatá) and Tunja (Hunza), Colombia (M.A.), 1–201. University of Central Florida. Accessed 2016-07-08.
  14. Smith, A. F. (1994). The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture, and Cookery. Columbia SC, US: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-57003-000-0.
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