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Chapter 5. Ethnic Vegetable Production

Guodong Liu, Bonnie Wells, Yuncong Li, Qingren Wang, and Johan Desaeger

Ethnic vegetable production in Florida has shown great potential and contributed significantly to the market and diversity of the state’s agricultural industry. More than 40 types of ethnic/Asian vegetables are commercially grown each year across Florida. In recent years, the increasing demand for these crops has resulted in a rapid expansion of Asian or ethnic vegetable production from northeast to south Florida. The acreage is rapidly increasing because of the demand and the niche market. Though availability, profitability, and competitiveness have increased, one of the concerns creating confusion between producers and consumers is that many of the ethnic vegetable crops have different names from different countries and cultures. Another concern is that, for many of these crops, there are no science-based production recommendations available for Asian or ethnic vegetable producers to follow. This unavailability of recommendations may limit the production of these crops as local growers attempt to determine crop requirements with limited guidance. However, before specific recommendations are developed for these specialty crops, ethnic vegetable growers should follow recommendations that are available for crop species closely related to these Asian or ethnic vegetables. This is especially important for pest control and pest management because it is usually very difficult to find pesticides labeled specifically for certain Asian or ethnic vegetable species.

The objectives of this publication are to (1) provide various names of some ethnic/Asian vegetable crops with EDIS publications available to readers; (2) list related chapters in this handbook, which provide recommendations for crops close to these ethnic vegetables grown in Florida; and (3) list EDIS publications currently available for these crops. We strongly encourage growers of ethnic vegetables to follow the UF/IFAS recommendations for closely related crop types or species until UF/IFAS recommendations for specific ethnic vegetables have been established. In addition, some EDIS publications focusing on Asian or ethnic vegetable crops in recent years may be of help to relevant growers. 

Web links for these EDIS publications are available for ethnic/Asian vegetable growers in Florida:

Bitter Melon—an Asian Vegetable Emerging in Florida.

Bok Choy, an Asian Leafy Green Vegetable Emerging in Florida.

Chinese Mustard Cultivation Guide for Florida.

Daikon Radish Cultivation Guide for Florida.

Florida Cultivation Guide for Malabar Spinach.

Goji Berry—A Novel Nutraceutical "Superfruit" for Florida Master Gardeners.

Leek Cultivation Guide for Florida.

Long Bean—an Asian Vegetable Emerging in Florida.

Long Squash—an Asian Vegetable Emerging in Florida.

Luffa—an Asian Vegetable Emerging in Florida.

Production Guide for Choy Sum—an Emerging Asian Vegetable in Florida.

Production Guide of Vegetable Amaranth for Florida.

Tong Hao—an Asian Vegetable Emerging in Florida.

Waterleaf, a Potential Leafy Vegetable for Florida.

Table 1. Common name and botanical classification for selected Asian or ethnic vegetables.


Publication #CV301

Date: 8/15/2022



About this Publication

This document is CV301, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date July 2017. Revised annually. Most recent revision May 2022. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Guodong Liu, associate professor, Horticultural Sciences Department; Bonnie Wells, Extension agent II, UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County; Yuncong Li, professor, Department of Soil, Water, and Ecosystem Sciences, UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center; Qingren Wang, Extension agent III, UF/IFAS Extension Miami-Dade County; and Johan Desaeger, assistant professor, Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast REC; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Guodong Liu
  • Peter Dittmar