New World crops

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 Arracacha, arrowroot, jicama, Camas root, hopniss, leren, manioc (yuca, cassava), mashua or cubio, oca, potato, sweet potato, ulluco, yacon
Fruits Avocado, blueberry, cherimoya, cranberry, curuba, feijoa, granadilla or lulo, guava (guayaba), huckleberry, papaya, pawpaw, passionfruit, peppers, pineapple, prickly pear (tuna), soursop, commercial strawberries, tomato, tomatillo
Melons Chayote, squashes (including pumpkins)
Nuts American chestnut, Black walnut, Brazil nut, cashew, hickory, pecan, 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 about 1500 years after it was first practiced in part of the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. The following table illustrates the crops that were grown and the chronology of domestication.

Timeline of New World crop cultivation
Date Crops Location
8000 BC[2] Squash Oaxaca, Mexico
8000-5000 BC[3] Potato Peruvian Andes
6000-4000 BC[4] Peppers Oaxaca, Mexico
5500 BC[5] Peanut South America
4200 BC[2][6] Maize Guerrero, Mexico
2500 BC[7] Cotton Peru
5000 BC[8] Avocado Mexico
4000 BC Common bean Central America
2000 BC Sunflowers
1500 BC[9] Cocoa Mexico
1500 BC[10] Sweet potato Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Colombia

See also


  1. Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs and Steel, W. W. Norton & Company, 1999, p. 126.
  2. 1 2 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. Spooner, DM; et al. (2005). "A single domestication for potato based on multilocus amplified fragment length polymorphism genotyping". PNAS. 102 (41): 14694–99. doi:10.1073/pnas.0507400102. PMC 1253605Freely accessible. PMID 16203994.
  4. 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.
  5. "Earliest-Known Evidence Of Peanut, Cotton And Squash Farming Found". Science Daily. June 29, 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  6. 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. doi:10.1073/pnas.0812590106. PMC 2664064Freely accessible. PMID 19307573. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  7. "Cotton: The Fiber of Life". McGraw Hill. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  8. 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.
  9. "History of Chocolate Timeline - Origin of Chocolate".
  10. 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.
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