The Life Span or Life Cycle of Crops
Crops are usually classified according to their life span, or life cycle. These groups include;
A. Annual Crops:
These crops complete their growth, and also start their growth or life cycle, within one year or one growing season. They germinate, grow to maturity, flower, produce seeds, and die within one year. Such crops are called Arable crops. Examples of Annual or Arable crops are; maize, rice, okra, millet, guinea corn, cowpea, wheat, cotton, yam, and groundnut.
B. Perennial Crops:
These crops require more than two years, to develop from seeds into matured plants. These plants are allowed to grow on the same piece of land for many years. They are also called permanent crops. They bear fruits every year or twice a year. Examples of these crops are; coconut, avocado pear, mango, rubber, oil palm, cashew, kola-nut, and banana.
C. Biennial Crops:
These crops, complete their life cycle once in two years or two growing seasons. They spend the first year forming roots, stems, and leaves. In the second year, they produce the flowering stem and seeds, after which they die. Examples include; pineapple, cabbage, carrot, bulb, cocoyam, lettuce, cassava, and ginger.
D. Ephemeral Crops:
Ephemeral plants are plants that grow and reproduce very quickly, to take advantage of optimal conditions. These crops, complete their life cycle once in three or four months. These crops can undergo two or three lifecycles in a year. Examples include; tomato, okra, vegetables, and pepper.