Scientists define a vegetable as the edible product of a herbaceous plant. A herbaceous plant has stems that are softer and less fibrous than the woody stems of trees and shrubs. Most vegetables are annuals-plants that live for only one year or one growing season.
The horticultural definition of vegetables distinguishes them from fruits, which grow annually on trees and other woody plants that live more than two years. In some cases, common usage differs from scientific definitions. For example, most people consider muskmelons and watermelons as fruits. But horticulturists regard them as vegetables because these melons grow on vines that must be replanted annually.
It is custom which seems to dictate which plants are treated as vegetables and which as fruit but, generally speaking, vegetables are classified as those annual plants of which the immature succulent roots, bulbs, stems, blossoms, leaves, seeds, or fruits are eaten, and those perennial non-woody plants of which the roots, stems, leaf stalks or leaves are eaten.
North Carolina Vegetables Growers/Shipper List