Brassica oleracea


Brassica oleracea
Brassica oleracea
Wild Cabbage plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. oleracea
Binomial name
Brassica oleracea
L.

Brassica oleracea, or wild cabbage, is a species of Brassica native to coastal southern and western Europe, where its tolerance of salt and lime and its intolerance of competition from other plants typically restrict its natural occurrence to limestone sea cliffs, like the chalk cliffs on both sides of the English Channel.

Wild B. oleracea is a tall biennial plant, forming a stout rosette of large leaves in the first year, the leaves being fleshier and thicker than those of other species of Brassica, adaptations to store water and nutrients in its difficult growing environment. In its second year, the stored nutrients are used to produce a flower spike 1 to 2 metres (3–7 ft) tall bearing numerous yellow flowers.

Contents

Cultivation and uses

B. oleracea has become established as an important human food crop plant, used because of its large food reserves, which are stored over the winter in its leaves. It is rich in essential nutrients including vitamin C. Although it is believed to have been cultivated for several thousand years, its history as a domesticated plant is not clear before Greek and Roman times, when it was a well-established garden vegetable. Theophrastus mentions three kinds of rhaphanos (ῤάφανος):[1] a curly-leaved, a smooth-leaved, and a wild-type.[2] He reports the antipathy of the cabbage and the grape-vine, for the ancients believed that cabbages grown near grapes would impart their flavour to the wine.[3] It has been bred into a wide range of cultivars, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and more, some of which are hardly recognisable as being members of the same genus, let alone species. The historical genus of Crucifera, meaning four-petalled flower, may be the only uniting feature beyond taste.

Origins

According to the Triangle of U theory, B. oleracea is very closely related to five other species of the genus Brassica.[4]

Growing head of B. oleracea at Hooghly near Bandel in West Bengal, India

The cultivars of B. oleracea are grouped by developmental form into seven major cultivar groups, of which the Acephala ("non-heading") group remains most like the natural Wild Cabbage in appearance:

For other edible plants in the family Brassicaceae, see cruciferous vegetables.

In places such as the Channel Islands and Canary Islands where the frost is minimal and plants are thus freed from seasonality, some cultivars can grow up to 3 meters tall. These "tree cabbages" yield fresh leaves throughout the year, and harvest does not mean the plant needs to be destroyed as with a normal cabbage. Their woody stalks are sometimes dried and made into walking sticks.[5]

A small tree with large leaves
Cabbage can be cultivated to grow quite large in frost-free climates like this tree cabbage in the Canary Islands.

Some (notably brussels sprouts and broccoli) contain high levels of sinigrin which may help prevent bowel cancer[citation needed].

Several cultivars of Brassica oleracea, including Kale, Brussels sprouts, Savoy, and Chinese kale

References

  1. ^ Compare Theophrastus; raphanis (ραφανίς), "radish", also a Brassica.
  2. ^ Daniel Zohary and Maria Hopf, Domestication of plants in the Old World, third edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 199.
  3. ^ Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants, IV.6.16; Deipnosophistae, I, noting the effects of cabages on wine and wine-drinkers, also quotes Apollodorus of Carystus: "If they think that our calling it a rhaphanos, while you foreigners call it a krambê, makes any difference to us women!" (on-line English text).
  4. ^ Dixon, G.R. (2007), Vegetable brassicas and related crucifers, Wallingford: CABI, ISBN 9780851993959 
  5. ^ Williams, Paul H.; Hill, Curtis B. (June 13, 1986), "Rapid-Cycling Populations of Brassica" (pdf), Science, New Series (American Association for the Advancement of Science) 232 (4756): 1385–1389, doi:10.1126/science.232.4756.1385, PMID 17828914, http://www.bio.unc.edu/Courses/2008Fall/Biol423L/Pdfsforwebpage/Science86WilliamsFastPlants.pdf 

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Brassica oleracea — Brassica Bras si*ca, prop. n. [L., cabbage.] (Bot.) A genus of plants embracing several species and varieties differing much in appearance and qualities: such as the common cabbage ({Brassica oleracea}), broccoli, cauliflowers, etc.; the wild… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Brassica oleracea —   Brassica oleracea …   Wikipedia Español

  • Brassica oleracea — Chou commun Brassica oleracea …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Brassica oleracea — Gemüsekohl Wildform des Gemüsekohls auf Helgoland Systematik Klasse: Dreifurchenpollen Zweikeimblättrige (Rosopsida) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Brassica oleracea — noun 1. any of various cultivars of the genus Brassica oleracea grown for their edible leaves or flowers • Syn: ↑cabbage, ↑cultivated cabbage • Hypernyms: ↑crucifer, ↑cruciferous plant • Hyponyms: ↑head cabbage, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Brassica oleracea — Cabbage Cab bage (k[a^]b b[asl]j), n. [OE. cabage, fr. F. cabus headed (of cabbages), chou cabus headed cabbage, cabbage head; cf. It. capuccio a little head, cappuccio cowl, hood, cabbage, fr. capo head, L. caput, or fr. It. cappa cape. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Brassica oleracea — Cabbage Cab bage (k[a^]b b[asl]j), n. [OE. cabage, fr. F. cabus headed (of cabbages), chou cabus headed cabbage, cabbage head; cf. It. capuccio a little head, cappuccio cowl, hood, cabbage, fr. capo head, L. caput, or fr. It. cappa cape. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Brassica oleracea — Rape Rape, n. [L. rapa, rapum, akin to Gr. ra pys, ra fys, G. r[ u]be.] (Bot.) A name given to a variety or to varieties of a plant of the turnip kind, grown for seeds and herbage. The seeds are used for the production of rape oil, and to a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Brassica oleracea — Cole Cole (k[=o]l), n. [OE. col, caul, AS. cawl, cawel, fr. L. caulis, the stalk or stem of a plant, esp. a cabbage stalk, cabbage, akin to Gr. kaylo s. Cf. {Cauliflower}, {Kale}.] (Bot.) A plant of the {Brassica} or Cabbage genus; esp. that form …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Brassica oleracea — Broccoli Broc co*li, n. [It. broccoli, pl. of broccolo sprout, cabbage sprout, dim. of brocco splinter. See {Broach}, n.] (Bot.) A plant of the Cabbage species ({Brassica oleracea}) of many varieties, resembling the cauliflower. The curd, or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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