HORT*4380 Tropical and Sub-Tropical Crops

course node page

The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2022 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course. Offered in even-numbered years.

This course examines the production and utilization of tropical and sub-tropical crops in farming systems.

The course is designed to provide an in depth understanding of agriculture in the tropics and subtropics. The types of farming systems, integration of agriculture and environment, methods of cultivation and further value chain operations, improving farming systems, and influence of climate change on agriculture are the major aspects that will be taught in the class. Students may be able to focus on specific crops for their reports, and examinations.

Pre-Requisite(s): 1 of AGR*2470, BOT*2100, (AGR*2050, AGR*2150)



Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Fall

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to Web Advisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Have a clear understanding about the agricultural crops of the tropical and subtropical regions of the world;

  2. Have developed an understanding of the agricultural methods used in food production;

  3. Understand the interrelationships between agriculture and environment and importance of sustainable systems;

  4. Have learned about the value chain of production and distribution; and

  5. Understand the impact of climate change in operation of agricultural systems. 

Lecture Content:

Lecture content will cover:

  • World food habits- utilization of plants for food, evolution of plants
  • Evolution of agricultural practices, ancient civilizations
  • Modernization of agriculture- Improving varieties, Genetic engineering, food, bioproducts.
  • Benefits/disadvantages of the current systems of tropical/subtropical agriculture Asia/Africa/Central America.
  • Food Plants- General
  • Food Plants- Members of Poales (Grass family). Rice, wheat, millets
  • Food Plants- Members of Musaceae (banana family).
  • Food Plants- Spices (Members of zingiberaceae; fruit (Pineapple-Bromeliaceae)
  • Food Plants- Tubers, yams etc.
  • Food Plants- Members of Cucurbitaceae (cucumber, melons), Fabaceae (peas) etc.
  • Food Plants- Fruits, Members of Rosaceae, Myrtaceae, Anacardiaceae etc.
  • Systems of cultivation-Plains, Hills, Mountains
  • Organic agriculture
  • Agroforestry
Labs & Seminars:

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Grade  

Term Paper



Mid Term Take Home Exam



Final Take Home Exam





Final examination:

Take home final exam.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:

There is no single required text.

Recommended Texts:

The following general reference materials are available on reserve in the library:

  • Norman, M.J.T. et al. 1995. The Ecology of Tropical Food Crops. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Second Edition). [SB 176.T76 N67 1995 On reserve in the Library]
  • Pearson, C.J. et al 1992. Field Crop Ecosystems. Amsterdam: Elsevier. [QK 901.F53 On reserve in the Library]
  • Rehm, S. and G. Espig. 1991. The Cultivated Plants of the Tropics and Subtropics. Wikersheim: Verlag Josef Marlag. [SB 111.R4313 On reserve in the Library]

Other materials will be listed on the Courselink site prior to the lecture date.

Lab Manual:

Not applicable.

Other Resources:

Lecture powerpoints will be posted on the course D2L page prior to the lecture.

Field Trips:

Not applicable.

Additional Costs:

Not applicable.

Course Policies:

Grading Policies:

The course is graded according to University Policy. 

Undergraduate Grading Procedures: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/undergraduate/current/c08/c08-grds-proc.shtml

  • 80 - 100 (A) Excellent. An outstanding performance in which the student demonstrates a superior grasp of the subject matter, and an ability to go beyond the given material in a critical and constructive manner. The student demonstrates a high degree of creative and/or logical thinking, a superior ability to organize, to analyze, and to integrate ideas, and a thorough familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.

  • 70 - 79 (B) Good. A more than adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a thorough grasp of the subject matter, and an ability to organize and examine the material in a critical and constructive manner. The student demonstrates a good understanding of the relevant issues and a familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.

  • 60 - 69 (C) Acceptable. An adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a generally adequate grasp of the subject matter and a moderate ability to examine the material in a critical and constructive manner. The student displays an adequate understanding of the relevant issues, and a general familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.

  • 50 - 59 (D) Minimally Acceptable. A barely adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a familiarity with the subject matter, but whose attempts to examine the material in a critical and constructive manner are only partially successful. The student displays some understanding of the relevant issues, and some familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.

  • 0 - 49 (F) Fail. An inadequate performance.

Penalty for Late Submission of the Final Research Project: 

Unless a request is made for Academic Consideration, a penalty of 2% of the component final grade per day will be applied to a final paper submitted after the posted due date. Papers submitted later than 7 days after the due date without a written request for Academic Consideration will not be graded.

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor.  When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Other Course Information:

University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community, faculty, staff, and students  to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring.

University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


The University of Guelph is committed to creating a barrier-free environment. Providing services for students is a shared responsibility among students, faculty and administrators. This relationship is based on respect of individual rights, the dignity of the individual and the University community's shared commitment to an open and supportive learning environment. Students requiring service or accommodation, whether due to an identified, ongoing disability or a short-term disability should contact the Student Accessibility Services (SAS), formerly Centre for Students with Disabilities (CSD), as soon as possible.

For more information, contact CSD at 519-824-4120 ext. 56208 or email sas@uoguelph.ca or visit the Student Accessibility Services website: http://www.uoguelph.ca/csd/.

Course Evaluation Information

Your ratings and comments are important.  Course evaluation data are used to assess and enhance the quality of teaching and student learning at the University of Guelph.  Student course ratings and comments are used as an important component in the Faculty Tenure & Promotion process, and as valuable feedback to help instructors improve their teaching effectiveness and to improve the delivery of the course.

Your responses will not affect your grade.  Course evaluation data are distributed to individual instructors after final grades have been submitted to the Registrar, following the completion of each academic semester.

Please be honest, respectful, constructive and thorough.  Instructors and review committees place great value on student course ratings and read all comments provided in course evaluations. It is helpful to provide comments on the strengths of the course, in addition to the areas for improvement.  Please refrain from personal comments unless they relate to teaching and learning.

Click here for the University of Guelph Course Evaluation System