Food Plants of the World

Hardback - August 2019 - AU $89.99

A comprehensive photographic guide to over 400 food, beverage, spice and flavour plants.

Plants and plant-derived products make up the bulk of what we eat and drink every day, and people often wonder where their favourite food or drink comes from. This scientifically accurate photographic guide provides quick and informative answers. + Full description

Food Plants of the World is a comprehensive overview of the plants that provide us with food, beverages, spices and flavours. It is written in easy to understand language but gives accurate scientific information on the plants and their uses. This expanded and revised edition of the book includes:

  • Descriptions of more than 400 food and flavour plants and their close relatives, including origin, history, cultivation, harvesting, properties and culinary uses.
  • More than 1000 full-colour photographs, showing the plants, flowers and plant parts that are used.
  • Introductory chapters on cereals, pulses (legumes), nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, culinary herbs, sugar plants, beverages, spices and flavourings.
  • Interesting facts about the historical and contemporary uses of the various plant-derived products.
  • A checklist of more than 800 of the most important and well-known food plants of the world.

- Short description


Sales in Australia and New Zealand only. This title is available elsewhere through CABI (external link).


"The book is a valuable reference for gardeners growing home or community edible gardens, and anyone seeking up-to-date detailed information about plant-derived food."
Gardening Australia, August 2019

"Written in easy to understand language, the book is an accurate scientific and comprehensive overview of plants and their uses."
Gail Thomas, Queensland Country Life, 22 August 2019


Hardback | August 2019 | $ 89.99
ISBN: 9781486311668 | 520 pages | 240 x 165 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Colour photographs


  • Plants are illustrated with more than 1000 excellent colour photographs – the largest and most diverse published collection available.
  • A checklist of more than 800 food plants, with reference to common names, family name, region of origin, nutritional value and plant parts used, makes this book an essential reference.
  • Chapters on nutrients, diet and health close the gap between botany and nutrition and are an informative introduction to the Nutrition sciences.


Regions of origin
Pulses (legumes)
Nuts and seeds
Culinary herbs
Sugars, gums, gels and starches
Spices and flavours
The plants in alphabetical order
Nutrients, diet and health
Quick guide to food plants
Further reading
Acknowledgements and photo credits
General Index


Ben-Erik van Wyk is a Professor of Botany and holds the DST-NRF National Research Chair in Indigenous Plant Use at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He has a research interest in systematic botany and plant utilisation.