Sure, we all know that onions are related to garlic, or that lemons are biologically close to limes. But there are plenty of more surprising fruit, vegetable, grain, flower, herb and even illicit substance relatives out there. From the leafy veggie’s whole grain cousin to the stone fruit’s beautiful flower relative, click through to check out some of the most interesting plant relatives in the world.
1. Spinach & Quinoa.
Here’s an interesting one — both spinach and quinoa belong to the genus chenopodium, which, though short on edible foods, is heavy on weeds and hay fever-causing plants.
Other Relatives: Chard, beets.
2. Eggplant & Tobacco.
Eggplant and tobacco are both members of the nightshade family — plants characterized by the toxic substance they produce to ward off insects and small animals.
Other Relatives: Peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, paprika; flowers like petunias, devil’s trumpet and browallia.
3. Onions & Lilies.
With family members best known for both wedding bouquets and adding that little something extra to your favorite dish, it’s no stretch to say that the lily family is diverse. And this is one big family — with even more well-known exes out there.
Other Relatives: Other alliums like leeks, garlic and shallots; agave, joshua trees, yucca, asparagus.
4. Peaches & Almonds.
This one may not come as much of a surprise, since peach pits certainly resemble almonds. But did you know that both of these plants are actually members of the rose family?
Other Relatives: Stone fruits like cherries, pears, and apricots; berries like strawberries and raspberries; flowers and shrubs like roses, rowans and hawthorns.
5. Carrot & Cilantro.
This is one of the most interesting grouping of vegetables, herbs, and plants, though not necessarily the most surprising.
Other Relatives: Celery, parsnip, fennel, caraway, dill, parsley, aniseseed. Hemlock and Queen Anne’s Lace.
6. Lettuce & Artichoke.
Nope, lettuce isn’t related to most other leafy vegetables — it’s closet common edible cousin is actually the artichoke! What the Asteraceae family lacks in vegetables, it makes up for in plants used for tea, cooking oil, and pretty flowers you keep in vases.
Other Relatives: Chicory, sunflower, chamomile, calendula, dandelion, and safflower. Flowers like daisies, marigolds, dahlias, heleniums and zinnias.