Traditional Heirloom Vegetable Varieties of Appalachia and Southeast China


It has been noted by many plant professionals that the forests of Appalachia and the forests of Southeast China are very similar to each other in terms of the diversity of plants that grow in each. Given the similarities in biogeography, it is likely to be true that the same variety of vegetable that grows well in Appalachia could grow well in China. It has also been the experience of many Appalachian farmers that heirloom Chinese vegetables often grow very well in the Appalachian region. This pathfinder is a starting point for researchers and gardeners who are interested in exploring the history and diversity of heirloom vegetable varieties in Appalachia and China and experimenting with growing heirloom varieties that could possibly be grown in both Appalachia and China, thereby strengthening the agriculture of both areas.

Introductory Text: 

Gray, Elmer. “Preservation and Utilization of Appalachian Crop Germ Plasm”. Appalachian Heritage 1999. No. 27 (Fall) 35-43. APP COLL F106 .A137 A6.

Wigginton, Elliot. Foxfire 4: Fiddle Making, Springhouses, Horsetrading, Sassafras Tea, Berry Buckets, Gardening, and Further Affairs of Plain Living. New York, N.Y: Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1977: p. 160-186. ASU APP COLL and MAIN F291.2 .F623 C.2.

Perkins, Dwight with the assistance of Yang, Yehchien; Hsiao, Kuo-ying Wang [and] Su, Fung-ming. Agricultural Developement in China 1368-1968. Aldine Pub. Co: Chicago, 1969: p.37-55. ASU MAIN HD2067 .P47.

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

  • Vegetables--Heirloom varieties
  • Heirloom varieties (Plants)--Appalachian Region, Southern
  • Heirloom varieties (Plants)--North Carolina
  • Heirloom varieties (Plants)--Southern States
  • Food Crops--Heirloom varieties
  • Food Crops--Germplasm resources
  • Germplasm resources, Plant--China
  • Germplasm resources, Plant

Also Relevant:

  • Crops--Germplasm resources
  • Germplasm resources, Plant--Bibliography
  • Germplasm resources, Plant--Directories
  • Germplasm resources, Plant--Catalogs and Collections
  • Germplasm resources, Plan--Collection and Preservation
  • Traditional Farming--Southeast Asia
  • Vegetables--Heirloom varieties--Bibliography
  • Vegetables--Heirloom varieties--History

More General:

  • Biodiversity--Appalachian Region, Southern
  • Food Crops--Seeds
  • Gene Banks, Plant
  • Germplasm resources, Plant--Asia, Southeastern--Congresses
  • Traditional Farming
Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Agriculture
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • SB407 .S97
  • SB466.465 S695
  • SB117.35.n6 .A9
  • SB608.F62 G58
  • SB123.34.c6 z474
  • SB123.3 .T76
  • S445 .V48
  • S470 .S64 T73
  • K3876 .P46 1994
  • Z5354.P74 H39
  • SB123.3 .C76
  • SB113.4 .F66
  • SB123.3 .D47
  • Z5996.V4 D45
  • SB324.7 .W48
  • SB470 .S64
  • GN476 .N39
  • QH75 .S53

Baron, Robert C. (ed.) The Garden and Farm Books of Thomas Jefferson. Golden Colorado: Fulcrum, c1987. ASU APP COLL: SB 451.34 .V8 J44 1987.

Copeland, Lawrence and McDonald, M.B. Seed Production: Principles and Practices. New York: Chapman & Hall, c1997. ASU MAIN SB 117 .M36 1997.

Marten, Gerald G., ed. Traditional Agriculture in Southeast Asia: A Human Ecology Perspective. Boulder: Westview Press: 1986. ASU MAIN S470 .S64 T73 1986.

Nazarea, Virginia. Heirloom Seeds and Their Keepers: Marginality and Memory in the Conservation of Biological Diversity. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2005. ASU MAIN SB117 .N189 2005.

Perkins, Dwight, with the assistance of Yang, Yehchien; Hsiao, Kuo-ying Wang [and] Su, Fung-ming. Agricultural Developement in China 1368-1968. Chicago: Aldine Pub. Co, 1969: p.37-55. ASU MAIN HD2067 .P47.

Veteto, James Robert. The History and Survival of Traditional Heirloom Vegetable Varieties and Strategies for the Conservation of Crop Biodiversity in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. MA Thesis, Appalachian State University, 2005. ASU APP COLL S445 .V48 2005.

Weaver, William Woys. Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener’s Guide to Planting, Seed Saving, and Cultural History. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc, 1997. ASU MAIN SB 324.73. W43 1997.

Facciola, Stephen. Cornucopia II: A Source Book of Edible Plants. Vista, CA: Kampong Publications, 1998. ASU MAIN SB 175 .F332 1998.

Sgaravatti, E. World List of Seed Sources = Liste Mondiale de Sources de Semences = Lista Mundial de Fuentes de Semillas. 3rd edition. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1986. WCU GENERAL SB113.4 .W67 1986.

Whealey, Kent (ed.). Garden Seed Inventory (5th edition): An Inventory of Seed Catalogs Listing All Non-Hybrid Vegetable Seeds Available in the United States and Canada. Decorah, Iowa: Seed Saver Publications, c1985. WCU General SB 324.75 .W47 1985.

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

American Home Editors and Staff. The American Home Garden Book and Plant Encyclopedia. New York: M. Evans; Philadelphia: distributed in association with Lippincott, 1972. ASU MAIN SB453 .A66 1972.

Larkham, Joy. Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide For Garden and Kitchen. Tokyo: New York: Kodansha International, 1991. OCLC: 91011185. LOC REFERENCE-SCIENCE READING ROOM.

Meil, Joanne. New World Plants and Their Uses: A Guide to Selected Literature and Genetic Resources, 1980-1993. Beltsville, MD: National Agricultural Library, 1993. WCU GOVT (US) A 17.22:P 69.

Schlegel, Rolf H.J. Encyclopedic Dictionary of Plant Breeding and Related Subjects. New York: Food Products Press/The Haworth Reference Press, 2003. ASU REFERENCE SB123 .S32 2003.

Strickland, Sue. Heirloom Vegetables: A Home Gardener’s Guide to Finding and Growing Vegetables from the Past. New York: Fireside Books, 1998. LIBRARY OF CONGRES: SB324.73 .S75 1998.

Vaughn, John Griffith and Geissler, C. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. ASU REFERENCE SB175 .V38 1997.


Bibliography of Agriculture with Subject Index. Volume 30. Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx Press. ASU REFERENCE A5073 .U572.

Demuth, Suzanne. A Guide to Heirloom Varieties and Community-Based Stewardship. Beltsville, Maryland: Alternative Farming Systems, USDA, ARS, 1998. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS: Z5996.V4 D45 1998.

Fusonie, Alan M. Heritage of American Agriculture: A Bibliography of Pre-1860 Imprints. Beltsville, MD: National Agriculture Library, USDA, 1975. ASU GOVT DOC A 17.17:98.

Schlebecker, John T. Bibliography of Books and Pamphlets on the History of Agriculture in the United States, 1607-1967. Santa Barbara, CA: American Bibliographical Center, 1969. ASU MAIN Z5075 .U5 S28.

Abstracts and Indices: 


Bibliography of Agriculture with Subject Index. Volume 30. Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx Press. ASU REFERENCE A5073 .U572.

Biological and Agricultural Index. New York: H.W. Wilson Co. Library Has: Vol. 19-80, 1964-1994. ASU 1st FLOOR STORAGE: T1 .A68.


Appalachian Heritage. ASU APP COLL F106 .A137 A6.

Golden Seal: West Virginia Traditional Life. ASU APP COLL F241 .G64.

Permaculture Activist ASU PERIODICALS


“Asian Vegetables”.

“Chinese Heirloom Seeds”

“Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)”

“Johnny’s Selected Seeds”

“Seed Savers Exchange”

“Southern Seed Legacy”

“Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center Inc.”

“Southern Exposure Seed Exchange”

“Thomas Jefferson Center For Historic Plants”

“Seed Savers Exchange”

“Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center, Inc.”

Audio and Video Sources: 

Genetic Time Bomb [videorecording]. Oregon Publication Broadcasting; producer, writer, editor, John de Graaf; producer, researcher, Vivia Boe. Oakland, CA: The Video Project [distributor], c1994. WCU CMC VIDEO SB.G46.

Seeds of Tomorrow [videorecording]. WGBH Boston; written, produced and directed by Graham Chedd; a production of the Chedd-Angier Production Company in association with WGBH. Northbrook, Illinois: Coronet Film & Video, 1985. ASU DVD/FILM/VIDEO VC 5361. Guide: ASU DVE/FILM/VIDEO VC 5361 GUIDE.

The State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (computer file). Prepared for the International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources, Leipzig, Germany, 17-23 June 1996. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1997. ASU GOVT CD A 1.142:P 69/ENG./FR./SPAN.

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Jim Veteto, 10 November 2003

Updated by: 

Updated by: Shannon Perry, 8 October 2009