Species List

Species List

Examples of neglected and underutilized species are shown in the tables below (source: Bioversity International 2007). Note that some species may be underutilized in some locations or in some aspects but not in others. These species are 'neglected' by research and development efforts with very little attention given to selecting, breeding or disseminating improved varieties, investigating and sharing enhanced management practices, creating markets or strengthening their supply chains. They are 'underutilized' with reference to their potential. Not all species can rival rice but some could become much more important in local food systems and global markets with positive outcomes for the income of producer communities and the nutrition of local and global consumers.


Scientific nameCommon nameUseLocation

Chenopodium quinoa

Quinoa Cereal Latin America

Digitaria exilis

Fonio Cereal Africa

Eleusine coracana

Finger millet Cereal Asia

Eragrostis tef

Tef Cereal Africa

Fagopyrum esculentum

Buckwheat Cereal Asia, Europe
Setaria italica Foxtail millet Cereal Asia, Europe


Scientific nameCommon nameUseLocation

Kerstingiella geocarpa

Kersting's groundnut Legume Africa
Lablab purpureus Hyacinth beanLegume, fodder Africa, Asia

Sphenostylis stenocarpa

African yam beanLegumeAfrica

Vigna subterranea

Bambara groundnut Legume Africa 

Roots and Tubers

Scientific nameCommon nameUseLocation
Plectranthus esculentus Livingstone potato Tuber Africa

Smallanthus sonchifolius

Yacon TuberLatin America

Ullucus tuberosus

Ulluco Tuber Latin America 

Fruits and Nuts

Scientific nameCommon nameUseLocation
Adansonia digitata BaobabFruit, leafy vegetable Africa
Aegle marmelos BaelFruitAsia
Annona squamosaCustard appleFruitAfrica, Latin America

Artocarpus heterophyllus

Jackfruit Fruit Asia
Bactris gasipaes Peach palm Fruit Latin America

Canarium indicum

Nangai nut Nut Asia

Carissa edulis

Natal plum Fruit Africa

Ceratonia siliqua

Carob, locust bean Fruit Africa, Europe
Choerospondias axillaris Lapsi Fruit Asia

Cornus mas

Cornelian cherry Fruit Europe
Crataegus monogyna Hawthorne Fruit, medicinal Asia, Europe

Cydonia oblonga

Quince Fruit Asia, Europe

Eleagnus angustifolia

Russian olives Fruit Asia
Emblica officinalis Indian gooseberry Fruit Asia

Garcinia mangostana

Mangosteen Fruit Asia

Hippophae rhamnoides

Sea buckthorn Medicinal, fruit Asia
Irvingia gabonensis Dika nut Fruit, nut Africa

Lagenaria sphaerica

Wild calabash Fruit, medicine Africa

Ricinodendron heudelotii

Ndjanssang Fruit Asia

Tamarindus indica

Tamarind Fruit Asia
Ziziphus sp. Ber, jujube FruitAfrica, Asia, Europe


Scientific nameCommon nameUseLocation
Adansonia digitata BaobabFruit, leafy vegetable Africa

Amaranthus spp.

AmaranthVegetableAfrica, Asia, Latin America

Artemisia dracunculus

Estragon Vegetable, spice Asia, Europe

Basella rubra

Ceylon spinach Vegetable Asia

Borago officinalis

Borage Vegetable, medicinal Europe

Boscia coriacea

Boscia Vegetable, medicinal Africa
Campanula rapunculus Rampion Vegetable Europe

Cichorium intybus

Chicory Vegetable Asia, Europe

Cleome gynandra

Cat's whiskers Vegetable Africa

Corchorus olitorius

Jute Vegetable, fibre crop Africa, Asia, Europe

Leucaena leucocephala

Leucaena Vegetable, fodder Africa

Moringa oleifera

Moringa Medicinal, vegetableAfrica, Asia
Muscari comosumTassel hyacinthVegetableEurope

Pastinaca sativa

Parsnip Vegetable Europe

Portulaca oleracea  


VegetableAsia, Europe

Salsola kali


Vegetable Europe

Solanum nigrum

Black nightshade Vegetable Africa