Artichokes grow on the thistle plant which has very long stems with large branches that arc out like a Christmas tree. Some varieties have long arching spiked leaves which makes them look like giant ferns. If they're not picked for eating they turn into beautiful purple flowers.
Brussel sprouts prefer a long cool growing season to a hot humid climate. It can take 13-16 weeks after planting their parent seedlings before they're mature enough to harvest. The bottom of the plant matures first and it may take a farmer up to 10 pickings per plant to fully harvest the plant.
Cucumbers grow on vigorous trailing vines which can produce 25 to 125 cucumbers. Their parent plant has large leaves to protect us from the sun. Cucumbers grow best in a sub-tropical (hot and dry) climate with a well-drained sandy to light loam soil.
The pineapple plant stalk has a cluster of flowers, which are purplish to lavender in colour. They appear about 16 months after the pineapple has been planted. Pineapples are a multiple fruit, which means they grow from a cluster of fertilised flowers that join together. The flowers are also known as the eyes of the fruit and there are approximately 150 on each mature pineapple.
Watermelons grow on a ground hugging vine which has long, soft, flexible shoots which can be up to 1.8-3 metres long. Each stem has snake-like tendrils which assist the vine to climb. Its leaves are large, bright green, slightly hairy, and have three or five lobes. Its flowers are one sex, with male and female flowers growing separately on the same plant.
Honeydew like to grow in a hot dry climate and grow on vines along the ground. They belong to the melon family and are related to pumpkins, squash and cucumbers. Their parent plant has large, hairy, green-lobed leaves which are rough to the touch. They grow on long stems arising from the trailing main stem.
Avocados grow on evergreen trees. Evergreen means the tree doesn't shed its leaves in the autumn. Avocado trees need to grow in an area that has excellent drainage, porous soil and is sheltered from strong winds and frosts. They prefer a climate that is tropical - cool winters and hot humid summers.
The fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney shaped drupe that grows at the end of the cashew apple. First the drupe develops on the tree, and then it expands to become the cashew apple. Within the fruit is a seed, which is the cashew nut!
The peanut plant flowers above the ground, and fruits below the ground!
The strawberry plant is a small plant with a crown of dark green leaves each of which has three small leaflets with saw-like edges. Runners, or long stems, grow from the crown, which send down roots when they touch the ground and a new plant develops. It's white flowers are fertilised by bees and then produce strawberries. It is becoming very popular to grow strawberries hydroponically these days (that is grown in a nutrient solution rather than in soil).
A common misconception is that quinoa is a grain, when if fact, the part of the quinoa plant that we eat is the actually the seed. In order to get the seed, the plant first needs to flower. This is what flowering quinoa looks like:
Lychees are berries and are produced on tropical evergreen trees which grow to 10-12 metres. The trees have a short trunk, low spreading branches and are quite attractive. Their shiny, leathery, green leaves are composed of several smaller long, thin leaflets which are grouped together in pairs. Long sprays of green-white to green-yellow flowers turn into bunches of fruit following fertilisation, but the trees need lots of water and a cold winter to do this.
The raspberry parent plant is small, deciduous, with slightly prickly, erect or arched stems (or canes) up to 1.2-1.6 metres long. The leaf consists of 3-5 small leaflets which are attached along the main leaf stem. Each leaf is green, oval with saw-like edges and a white downy underside.