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List of edible seeds facts for kids

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Various grains edit2
Cereals are edible seeds that are used to create many different food products.

An edible seed is a seed that is suitable for human or animal consumption. Of the six major plant parts, seeds are the dominant source of human calories and protein. A wide variety of plant species provide edible seeds; most are angiosperms, while a few are gymnosperms. As a global food source, the most important edible seeds by weight are cereals, followed by legumes, nuts. and then spices.

Cereals and legumes correspond with the botanical families Poaceae and Fabaceae, respectively, while nuts, pseudocereals, and other seeds form polyphylic groups based on their culinary roles.


A cereal, also called a cereal grain or simply a grain, is the edible seed of a grass, a plant in the family Poaceae. Cereals can be consumed in a variety of ways, all of which require husking and cooking, including whole, rolled, puffed, or ground into flour. Many cereals are present or past staple foods, providing a large fraction of the calories in the places in which they are eaten. Today, cereals provide almost half of all calories consumed in the world.

Family Tribe Genus Species Seed name(s) Photo
Poaceae Andropogoneae Sorghum S. bicolor sorghum
Zea Z. mays maize, corn, corn kernel
GEM corn.jpg
Eragrostideae Eleusine E. coracana finger millet
Ragi (Eleusine coracana) BNC (cropped).png
Eragrostis E. tef teff
Oryzeae Oryza O. sativa Asian rice
Brown rice.jpg
O. glaberrima African rice
Reis - Sorte C voll.jpg
Zizania wild rice
Paniceae Digitaria D. exilis black fonio
Digitaria exilis (Kippist) Stapf - fonio - DIEX4 - Jose Hernandez @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.jpg
D. iburua white fonio
Panicum P. miliaceum proso millet
P. sumatrense little millet
A closeup fo Samai millet with husk.JPG
Pennisetum P. glaucum pearl millet
Pearl millet after combine harvesting.jpg
Setaria S. italica foxtail millet
Hulled foxtail millet.jpg
Poeae Avena A. sativa oat, oat groat
Avena sativa 004.JPG
Triticeae Hordeum H. vulgare barley, barley groat
Barley grains 3.jpg
Secale S. cereale rye, rye berry
Secale cereale (roggekorrels).jpg
× Triticosecale triticale
LPCC-651-Grans de triticale.jpg
Triticum T. aestivum wheat, wheat berry
T. durum durum, durum wheat
Pates (blé dur) Cl1 J Weber (24056865996).jpg
T. monococcum einkorn
Einkorn BMK.jpg
T. spelta spelt, spelt wheat
2009-06-20 Silvolde 02 dinkel.jpg
T. turanicum kamut
Les Plantes Cultivades. Cereals. Imatge 1857.jpg
T. turgidum emmer
Thinopyrum T. intermedium Kernza
Thinopyrum intermedium seeds 3.jpg

Other grasses with edible seeds include:

  • Astrebla pectinata – barley Mitchell grass
  • Brachiaria piligera – wattle signalgrass
  • Eragrostis eriopoda – woollybutt grass
  • Panicum species, such as native millet (Panicum decompositum) and hairy panic (P. effusum)
  • Themeda triandra – kangaroo grass
  • Yakirra australiensis – bunch panic


A pseudocereal, or pseudocereal grain, is the edible seed of a pseudocereal, one of a polyphyletic group of plants that produce seeds that resemble those of cereals. Pseudocereals are used in many of the same ways as cereals.

Family Genus Species Seed name(s) Photo
Amaranthaceae Amaranthus amaranth, amaranth grain
Chenopodium C. berlandieri pitseed goosefoot
C. pallidicaule kañiwa
Canihua (Chenopodium pallidicaule).jpg
C. quinoa quinoa
Colored quinoa Genebank INIA Juliaca.JPG
Capparaceae Boscia B. senegalensis hanza
Washed Boscia senegalensis seeds.JPG
Lamiaceae Salvia S. hispanica chia, chia seed
Chiasamen 07 (fcm).jpg
Linaceae Linum L. usitatissimum flax, flaxseed, linseed
Flax seeds.jpg
Moraceae Brosimum B. alicastrum breadnut
Ramon nuts 05.jpg
Pedaliaceae Sesamum S. indicum sesame, sesame seed
Chamkkae (sesame).jpg
Polygonaceae Fagopyrum F. esculentum buckwheat, buckwheat groat
Гречневая каша.jpg


A legume, or pulse, is the edible seed of a legume, a plant in the family Fabaceae. Legumes can be divided into grams, which do not split, and dals, which split.

Family Tribe Genus Species Seed name(s) Photo
Fabaceae Dalbergieae Arachis A. hypogaea peanut
Arachis hypogaea 005.JPG
Cicereae Cicer C. arietinum chickpea, garbanzo bean, gram
Fabeae Pisum P. sativum pea
Pisum sativum green.jpg
Millettieae Millettia M. pinnata Indian beechnut
Millettia pinnata pods.jpg
Phaseoleae Cajanus C. Cajan pigeon pea
Pigeon peas dried.jpg
Glycine G. max soybean
Phaseolus P. lunatus lima bean
NCI lima beans.jpg
P. vulgaris common bean
Bean market10 lo.jpg
Vigna V. angularis adzuki bean
Azuki Beans.jpg
V. mungo black gram
Black gram.jpg
V. radiata mung bean, green gram
Vigna radiata, groene mungboon.jpg
V. subterranea Bambara groundnut
Vigna subterranea (4350578751).jpg
V. unguiculata cowpea
Vicieae Lens L. culinaris lentil
3 types of lentil.jpg
Vicia V. faba fava bean, broad bean
Vicia faba 01.jpg
Seeds of Atriplex nummularia, Australia

Although some beans can be consumed raw, some need to be heated before consumption. In certain cultures, beans that need heating are initially prepared as a seed cake. Beans that need heating include:

  • Acacia species (wattleseed), such as mulga (Acacia aneura), Halls Creek wattle (A. cowleana), southern ironwood (A. estrophiolata), umbrella bush (A. ligulata), Murray's wattle (A. murrayana), curara (A. tetragonophylla), witchetty bush (A. kempeana), wiry wattle (A. coriacea), mallee golden wattle (A. notabilis), ranji bush (A. pyrifolia), bardi bush (A. victoriae), coastal wattle (A. sophorae), shoestring acacia (A. stenophylla), and pindan wattle (A. tumida).
  • Atriplex nummularia – old man saltbush
  • Brachychiton species, such as kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus), northern kurrajong (B. diversifolius), desert kurrajong (B. gregorii), and red-flowered kurrajong (B. paradoxus).
  • Bruguiera gymnorhiza – black mangrove
  • Calandrinia balonensis – parakeelya
  • Canarium australianum – mango bark
  • Canavalia rosea – beach bean
  • Entada phaseoloides – St. Thomas bean
  • Eucalyptus species, such as tammin mallee (Eucalyptus leptopoda) and coolibah (E. microtheca)
  • Marsilea drummondii – nardoo
  • Portulaca species, such as common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) and large pigweed (P. intraterranea)
  • Nymphaea gigantea – giant waterlily
  • Rhyncharrhena linearis – purple pentatrope


See also: Nut (food) and List of edible nuts
Bertholletia excelsa seeds closeup
Brazil nuts
Roasted and salted cashew nuts
Pistachios in shells
Roasted pistachios
Whole Walnut Kernel
A whole walnut kernel

According to the botanical definition, nuts are a particular kind of fruit. Chestnuts, hazelnuts, and acorns are examples of nuts under this definition. In culinary terms, however, the term is used more broadly to include fruits that are not botanically qualified as nuts, but that have a similar appearance and culinary role. Examples of culinary nuts include almonds and cashews.

Nut-like gymnosperm seeds

Edible gymnosperm seeds that resembles nuts include:


Other edible seeds that do not neatly fit into the above categories include:

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