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An Introduction to Crops and Plants and Their Difference

We all have seen fields of wheat or rice and the plants of fruits and vegetables. Crops and plants are both grown for the food requirement of humans and animals. They both provide us with various essential products. However, do you know the difference between a crop and a plant? How can you differentiate a crop from a plant? All crops can be considered as plants but all plants cannot be considered as crops.

In this article, we are going to learn about crops, plants, the difference between crop and plant, examples of crops and plants, the concept of agriculture and horticulture and their difference, food crops and difference between agriculture and farming.

What is a Plant?

The photosynthetic eukaryotes, which belong to the kingdom plantae, are called plants. Plants prepare their food from sunlight and water by chloroplasts and are mostly multicellular organisms.



The examples of plants include:

  • Bamboo

  • Cactus

  • Orchids

  • Snake plants

  • Tomato, etc.

What is a Crop?

The plants which are grown and harvested commercially for fulfilling the consumption needs of humans are termed as crops.



The crop examples include:

  • Wheat

  • Rice

  • Soyabean

  • Millets

  • Maize

Types of Crops

Crops can be classified into six categories:

  • Food Crops

  • Feed Crops

  • Fibre Crops

  • Oil Crops

  • Ornamental Crops

  • Industrial Crops

Let’s define food crops. Crops that are grown for human consumption like wheat, rice, barley, etc. are termed as food crops. On the basis of the month, food crops are divided into 3 classes – Kharif crop, rabi crop and zaid crop.

Difference Between Crop and Plant

The difference between crops and plants on the basis of their definition, existence and domestication are as follows:

Difference Between Crop and Plant





Crops are plants which are grown and harvested for commercial use.

Plants are photosynthetic eukaryotic multicellular organisms.


They are domesticated

They are domesticated and wild


They are grown by humans.

They are grown naturally in the environment.


Crops fulfil the consumption needs of humans.

Plants maintain the balance of the environment.

All crops are plants, however, not all plants are crops. Plants are found naturally within the environment, whereas crops are grown economically. The terms scientific agriculture and horticulture are associated with crops and plants in the following manner:

Agronomy is the application of plant and soil science to crop production. Horticulture is the science and art of cultivating fruits, vegetables, flowers, and decorative plants.

What is Agriculture?

Cultivation is crucial to the survival of human beings. We have relied on cultivation for food and livelihood since the stone age. Agriculture is a variety of cultivation that's used to manufacture food and therefore the products associated with it. Agriculture includes numerous activities in its ambit, like farming, irrigation, cattle farming, sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, etc.

The process of cultivating soil by growing crops and livestock is termed as agriculture. It doesn't mean growing crops only; however, the raising of animals and preparation of animal products is additionally considered as agriculture.

What is Horticulture?

According to the horticulture definition, “The science and art of growing, producing, marketing, and utilising high-value, intensively grown food, and decorative plants in a sustainable manner is termed as Horticulture”.

Horticulture too is basically cultivation, but not of identical degree as agriculture. Horticulture is more inclined towards the domestic side of cultivation. An activity like growing plants, vegetables, fruits, etc. in a domestic environment is horticulture. Horticulture may additionally entail gardening, growing a nursery of plants, growing roots and shoots, etc. Since horticulture is practised on a small scale, it's comparably more cost-effective than agriculture.

Difference Between Agriculture and Horticulture

Comparison between agriculture and horticulture is shown in the following table:





Horticulture strictly involves plant cultivation.

Agriculture deals with cultivation of crops as well as animal farming.


Horticulture is usually less expensive than agriculture.

Agriculture costs more than horticulture.

Scale of Operation

Horticulture is done on smaller, enclosed plots.

Agriculture is done on extensive pieces of land on a large scale.


Garden cultivation, growing fruits domestically, etc.

Irrigation, cattle farming, etc.

Agriculture and Farming Difference

Agriculture is characterised as field development; cultivating and farming are two vital components of agribusiness. Agriculture incorporates a large scope of exercises, including creation, examination, and advancement, whereas farming is the most typical approach of completing rural activities.

Farming may be a more individual effort on including a plot of land with structures on it (for example, fencing, water offices, then on) that is used to cultivate crops and additionally raise animals for human use.

Important Question

Q1. What are the three types of crops?

Ans. The types of crops are:

  • Kharif Crop: The word “Kharif” is Arabic used for autumn since the season coincides with the start of autumn or winter. As cultivation of these crops happens within the monsoon season, another name for Kharif crop is monsoon crop.

  • Rabi Crop: Rabi crops are called winter crops. They're full-grown in October or November.

  • Zaid Crop: Vital crops produced during 'zaid' are watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, vegetables and fodder crops.


The only living species that may manufacture their own food are plants, and this is often primarily because of the presence of specialised structures within the plant cell. The plants that are full-grown and harvested commercially for fulfilling the consumption needs of humans are termed as crops. The method of cultivating soil by growing crops and livestock is termed as agriculture. Agriculture and horticulture are associated with plants and crops and have similarities as well as some differences also.

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FAQs on Crop and Plant

1. What are the parts of a plant?

A plant is divided into 2 main parts: root system and the shoot system. A root system is the underground part of the plant’s body that constitutes the most important part of the plant, roots, that is principally full-grown downward into the soil. These roots typically have a root cap at its tip and root hairs. The main functions of roots are: to store food in some plants and help in vegetative reproduction. The aerial part of the plant is the shoot system, which typically develops above the ground level. 

2. What are the categories of farming?

The various varieties of farming are: dairying, business farming, plantation farming, business grain farming, business husbandry, primitive husbandry, and intensive subsistence. Majority of farmers in Republic of India observe husbandry. It's defined by tiny and scattered land holdings and use of primitive tools, like hoe and creating by removal sticks by members of the family. In business farming  it involves cultivation of crops purchasable within the market. They embody sugarcane, tobacco, and oilseeds. It's typically experienced in areas where lots of land is out there and the economic system is well developed.

3. What is crop harvesting?

Crop harvest is the procedure of cutting, gathering, or reaping crops. This procedure is initiated once crops mature and switch golden yellow or brown. Usually, factors just like the variety of crop, its maturity amount, and season are crucial factors for the harvest of crops. Notably, there are two varieties of ways of harvest in agriculture– manual and mechanical. In the manual method the farmers use sickles and cutlasses extensively to reap mature crops. In mechanical harvest farmers use machines like harvesters to reap mature crops.