root crop, vegetable cultivated chiefly for its edible roots, e.g., the beet, turnip, mangel-wurzel, carrot, and parsnip. All root crops have a large water content and grow best in deeply cultivated soil in cool, overcast weather when the plant's loss of water through transpiration is lowest. Because they require thorough cultivating they are often desirable in a rotation of crops—beets and turnips being most frequently so used. Root crops, especially beets, turnips, and carrots, are also grown as food for livestock.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.