Food Families

October 17, 2014


This list indicates botanical relationships of several foods. Allergic cross reaction within families can occur but is unpredictable, with some groups more likely cross reactive than others. Allergy skin or blood tests help guide what needs to be avoided.

APPLE FAMILY: Apple, pear and quince.

ASTER FAMILY (composite): Lettuce is most common. Others are: chicory, endive, escarole, artichoke, dandelion, celtruce, sunflower seeds and tarragon. 

BEET FAMILY (Goosefoot): Beet, spinach, chard and lamb’s quarters.

BLUEBERRY FAMILY (Heath): Blueberry, huckleberry and cranberry.

BUCKWHEAT FAMILY: Buckwheat, rhubarb and garden sorrel.

CASHEW FAMILY: Cashew, pistachio and mango.

CHOCOLATE FAMILY: Chocolate (cocoa) and Cola.

CITRUS FAMILY: Orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime, tangerine, kumquat and citron.

FUNGUS FAMILY: Mushroom and yeast. 

GINGER FAMILY: Ginger, cardamom and turmeric.

GOOSEBERRY FAMILY: Currant and gooseberry.

GRAINS (CEREAL OR GRASS) FAMILY: Wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, rye, wild rice, cane millet, sorghum and bamboo sprouts. 

LAUREL FAMILY: Avocado, cinnamon, bay leaves and sassafras.

MALLOW FAMILY: Cottonseed and okra.

MELON (GOURD) FAMILY: Watermelon, cucumber, cantaloupe, pumpkin, squash and other melons.

MINT FAMILY: Mint, peppermint, spearmint, thyme, sage, horehound, majoram, basil, savory, rosemary, balm (melissa) and catnip.

MUSTARD FAMILY: Mustard, turnip, radish, horse radish, watercress and varieties of cabbage (cabbage, kraut, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, collards, kale, kohlrabi and rutabaga).

MYRTLE FAMILY: Allspice, quava, clove pimento (not Pimiento).

OLIVE FAMILY: Green olive, Ripe olive, Red, green, bell pepper, Chili, tobasco, Pimento.

ONION FAMILY (Lily): Onion, garlic, asparagus, chives, leeks and sarsparilla.

PALM FAMILY: Coconut and date.

PARSLEY FAMILY: Carrot, parsnip, celery, parsley and celeriac. Also the following spices: anise, dill, fennel, angelica, celery seed, cumin, coriander and caraway.

PEA (LEGUME OR CLOVER) FAMILY: Peanuts, Peas (green, field, black-eyed), Beans (navy, lima, pinto, string, soy, etc.) Less important are licorice, acacia and tragacanth.

PLUM FAMILY: Plum, cherry, peach, apricot, nectarine, wild cherry and almond.

POTATO FAMILY: Potato, tomato, egg plant and peppers. This family includes all food called “pepper” except black and white pepper, such as: green pepper, red pepper, chili pepper, paprika, cayenne and capsicum. (Tabacco, belladonna, stramonium and hyoscyamus belong to this family.)

ROSE FAMILY: Strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, dewberry and such developed berries as loganberry, youngberry, boysenberry, etc.

WALNUT FAMILY: English walnut, black walnut, pecan, hickory nut and butternut.


MOLLUSC FAMILY: Oyster, clam, abalone and mussel.

CRUSTACEAN FAMILY: Crab, lobster and shrimp.

FISH FAMILY: All true fish, either fresh water or salt water such as: salmon, tuna, sardine, catfish, trout, etc. 

BIRD FAMILY: All fowl and game birds: chicken, turkey, duck, goose, guinea, pigeon, quail, pheasant, etc. 

REPTILE FAMILY: Turtle, rattlesnake and frog.

MAMMAL FAMILY: Beef, pork, lamb, rabbit, squirrel, venison, etc. Cow’s milk is of the same animal origin as beef. Most persons allergic to cow’s milk cannot take the milk of other animals such as goat


The following foods are the only members of their botanical family:

Arrowroot, banana, black or white pepper, Brazil nut, capers, chestnut, chicle, coffee, elderberry, fig, grape, hazelnut, filbert, honey, juniper, flaxseed, karaya gum, maple sugar, New Zealand spinach, nutmeg (mace), olive, oregano, papaya, pineapple, persimmon, poppyseed, saffron, sesame seed, sweet potato, tapioca, tea, vanilla and wintergreen.


From this outline you can see there is no such thing as being allergic to all nuts, seafood, fruits, starches, greasy foods, spices, etc.

Notice that these are not related:

  • Tuna and shrimp
  • White potato and sweet potato
  • Wheat and buckwheat
  • Black and red pepper
  • Crab and clam
  • Raisin (grape) and prune (plum)
  • Peanut and other nuts
  • Almond and other nuts
  • Coffee and tea
  • Ginger, clove and cinnamon

Notice that these foods are related:

  • Apple and pear
  • Peach and plum
  • Pea, bean, peanut
  • Wheat, corn, other grains
  • Beet and spinach
  • Chocolate and cola drinks
  • Onion, garlic, asparagus
  • Cucumber and melons
  • Walnut and pecan
  • Carrot and celery