Monocotyledons - grasses, sedges, etc.
Lemongrass - (Cymbopogan citratus): probably originated in either Malaysia or India. It is a perennial grass propagated entirely vegetatively from stems as seed is seldom produced. Usually planted in March, the earliest harvest is October, though it can be left growing until the market price increases. In the Central Valley, 5-7 rows at a time are covered with clear plastic to protect the plants from 28º freezes, which can kill the above ground portion. Below this temperature, the plastic may not help. The only pest attacking the leaves is a fungal rust. Warm season.
Stems are chopped or pressed and added for lemony flavoring to many dishes. Leaves and/or stems can be used to make a hot/cold tea drink. The plant also makes a beautiful ornamental.
Multiplier Onions - Japanese bunching onions - (Allium fistulosum) This species will cross-pollinate with the common onion. It is a perennial, although it is usually harvested the same year. It is a member of the lily or amaryllis family. Cool season.
Multiplier onions are used in much the same way as the common green bunching onion, for flavorings and stir-fry.
Water Chestnut - (Eleocharis dulcis) is a member of the sedge family (Cyperaceae) with leaves that resemble coarse chive leaves, erect and stiff (like rushes). The plant grows in 3-5" standing water and is sensitive to drying out. The nuts grow below ground and are ready in about six months. A 25-gallon container may have as many as 40 nuts. In Asia they are often found in rice paddies or ponds with lotus plants. Warm season.
Water chestnuts have a crunchy, nutty flavor and should be added towards the end of cooking to preserve the crunchiness. Peel the dark brown-black peel to expose the cream-colored nut inside. They can be used fresh in a tossed salad or in many different stir-fry dishes combined with mushrooms, bamboo shoots, snow peas, bean sprouts, scallions, and taro root. Cooked shredded chicken or pork can be added to the vegetables.
Japanese yam - yamaimo - nago imo - (Dioscorea batatas): In tubes this root will grow to 3' long vertically in the soil. Usually the top 1/3 of the tuber is saved for cold storage and planting the following spring. At the leaf axils, aerial tubers form which can also be used for propagation however it will take more than one year to get a harvestable crop. Yam family. Warm season. Trellised. (Dioscoreaceae)
The skin is brownish with white starchy flesh that turns mucilaginous when cut or grated.
Taro - eddoes - dasheen - (Colocasia esculenta): is a member of the Araceae family. It is grown primarily for the corm or swollen stem base. The stem and corm contain oxalates that can be irritating to the skin, which peeling removes. There are some varieties available very low in oxalates. Two main types of taro are - "common taro or Dasheen" that produces one large corm encircled with rings and "Japanese taro or eddoes" (var. antiquorium) that produces numerous smaller corms and tolerates a more temperate climates.
Taro is the main ingredient in poi. It has a starchy, sweet flavor similar to a potato but nutty like a chestnut. The texture gets more doughy as you cook it. Use it like a potato. Never eat taro raw.