Brassica
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''Brassica'' () is a genus of plants in the cabbage and mustard family (
Brassicaceae Brassicaceae () or (the older) Cruciferae () is a medium-sized and economically important Family (biology), family of flowering plants commonly known as the mustards, the crucifers, or the cabbage family. Most are herbaceous plants, while some ar ...
). The members of the genus are informally known as
cruciferous vegetables Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae) with many genera, species, and cultivars being raised for food production such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels spr ...
,
cabbage Cabbage, comprising several cultivars of ''Brassica oleracea'', is a leafy green, red (purple), or white (pale green) biennial plant grown as an Annual plant, annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. It is descended from the wild cabb ...
s, or mustard plants. Crops from this genus are sometimes called ''cole crops''derived from the Latin ''caulis'', denoting the stem or stalk of a plant. The
genus Genus ( plural genera ) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, viruses. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus com ...
''Brassica'' is known for its important
agricultural Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating Plant, plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of Sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of Domestication, domesticated species created food ...
and
horticultural Horticulture is the branch of agriculture that deals with the art, science, technology, and business of plant cultivation. It includes the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, sprouts, mushrooms, algae, flowers, seaweeds and no ...
crops and also includes a number of
weed A weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, "a plant in the wrong place", or a plant growing where it is not wanted.Harlan, J. R., & deWet, J. M. (1965). Some thoughts about weeds. ''Economic botany'', ''19''(1), 16-24. ...
s, both of wild
taxa In biology, a taxon (back-formation from ''Taxonomy (biology), taxonomy''; plural taxa) is a group of one or more populations of an organism or organisms seen by taxonomists to form a unit. Although neither is required, a taxon is usually known ...
and escapees from cultivation. ''Brassica'' species and varieties commonly used for food include bok choy,
broccoli Broccoli (''Brassica oleracea'' var. ''italica'') is an edible green plant in the Brassicaceae, cabbage family (family Brassicaceae, genus ''Brassica'') whose large Pseudanthium, flowering head, plant stem, stalk and small associated leafy gree ...
,
cauliflower Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species '' Brassica oleracea'' in the genus '' Brassica'', which is in the Brassicaceae (or mustard) family. It is an annual plant An annual plant is a plant that completes its biological l ...
,
cabbage Cabbage, comprising several cultivars of ''Brassica oleracea'', is a leafy green, red (purple), or white (pale green) biennial plant grown as an Annual plant, annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. It is descended from the wild cabb ...
, choy sum,
kohlrabi Kohlrabi (pronounced ; scientific name ''Brassica oleracea'' Gongylodes Group (horticulture), Group), also called German turnip or turnip cabbage, is a Biennial plant, biennial vegetable, a low, stout cultivar of wild cabbage. It is a cultivar o ...
,
napa cabbage Napa cabbage (''Brassica rapa'' subsp. ''pekinensis'' or ''Brassica rapa'' Pekinensis Group) is a type of Chinese cabbage originating near the Beijing region of China that is widely used in Asian cuisine#East Asia, East Asian cuisine. Since the ...
,
rutabaga Rutabaga (; North American English) or swede (British English and some Commonwealth English) is a root vegetable, a form of ''Brassica napus'' (which also includes rapeseed). Other names include Swedish turnip, neep (Scots), and Turnip (termin ...
,
turnip The turnip or white turnip (''Brassica rapa'' subsp. ''rapa'') is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, fleshy taproot. The word ''turnip'' is a compound (linguistics), compound of ''turn'' as in turned/r ...
and some seeds used in the production of
canola oil file:CanolaBlooms.JPG, Close-up of canola blooms file:Canola Flower.jpg, Canola flower Rapeseed oil is one of the oldest known Vegetable oil, vegetable oils. There are both Edible oil, edible and industrial forms produced from rapeseed, the see ...
and the condiment mustard. Over 30 wild species and hybrids are in cultivation, plus numerous
cultivar A cultivar is a type of Horticulture, cultivated plant that people have selected for desired phenotypic trait, traits and when Plant propagation, propagated retain those traits. Methods used to propagate cultivars include: division, root and st ...
s and hybrids of cultivated origin. Most are seasonal plants ( annuals or biennials), but some are small shrubs. ''Brassica'' plants have been the subject of much scientific interest for their agricultural importance. Six particular species ('' B. carinata'', '' B. juncea'', '' B. oleracea'', '' B. napus'', '' B. nigra'', and '' B. rapa'') evolved by the combining of
chromosome A chromosome is a long DNA molecule with part or all of the genetic material of an organism. In most chromosomes the very long thin DNA fibers are coated with packaging proteins; in eukaryotic cells the most important of these proteins are ...
s from three earlier species, as described by the
triangle of U The triangle of U ( ) is a theory about the evolution and relationships among the six most commonly known members of the plant genus '' Brassica''. The theory states that the genomes of three ancestral diploid species of ''Brassica'' combined t ...
theory. The genus is native to
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. The concept of "the West" appeared in Europe in juxtaposition to "the East" and originally applied to the ancient Mediterranean ...
, the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
and temperate regions of
Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with Africa Africa is ...
. Many wild species grow as weeds, especially in
North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...
,
South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere at the northern tip of the continent. It can also be described as the souther ...
, and
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country by ...
. A dislike for cabbage or broccoli can result from the fact that these plants contain a compound similar to phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), which is either bitter or tasteless to people depending on their taste buds.


Uses


Food

The flowers, seeds, stalks, and tender leaves of many species of ''Brassica'' can be eaten raw or cooked. Almost all parts of some species have been developed for food, including the root ( swede,
turnip The turnip or white turnip (''Brassica rapa'' subsp. ''rapa'') is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, fleshy taproot. The word ''turnip'' is a compound (linguistics), compound of ''turn'' as in turned/r ...
), stems (
kohlrabi Kohlrabi (pronounced ; scientific name ''Brassica oleracea'' Gongylodes Group (horticulture), Group), also called German turnip or turnip cabbage, is a Biennial plant, biennial vegetable, a low, stout cultivar of wild cabbage. It is a cultivar o ...
), leaves (
cabbage Cabbage, comprising several cultivars of ''Brassica oleracea'', is a leafy green, red (purple), or white (pale green) biennial plant grown as an Annual plant, annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. It is descended from the wild cabb ...
,
collard greens Collard is a group of certain loose-leafed cultivars of ''Brassica oleracea'', the same species as many common vegetables including cabbage (Capitata group) and broccoli (Italica group). Collard is a member of the Viridis group of ''Brassica ol ...
,
kale Kale (), or leaf cabbage, belongs to a group of cabbage (''Brassica oleracea'') cultivars grown for their vegetable, edible leaves, although some are used as Kale#Ornamental kale, ornamentals. Kale plants have green or purple leaves, and the c ...
), flowers (
cauliflower Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species '' Brassica oleracea'' in the genus '' Brassica'', which is in the Brassicaceae (or mustard) family. It is an annual plant An annual plant is a plant that completes its biological l ...
,
broccoli Broccoli (''Brassica oleracea'' var. ''italica'') is an edible green plant in the Brassicaceae, cabbage family (family Brassicaceae, genus ''Brassica'') whose large Pseudanthium, flowering head, plant stem, stalk and small associated leafy gree ...
, romanesco broccoli), buds (
Brussels sprout The Brussels sprout is a member of the Gemmifera cultivar group of cabbages (''Brassica oleracea''), grown for its edible buds. The leaf vegetables are typically 1.5–4.0 cm (0.6–1.6 in) in diameter and resemble miniature cabbages ...
s,
cabbage Cabbage, comprising several cultivars of ''Brassica oleracea'', is a leafy green, red (purple), or white (pale green) biennial plant grown as an Annual plant, annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. It is descended from the wild cabb ...
), and seeds (many, including
mustard seed Mustard seeds are the small round seeds of various mustard plants. The seeds are usually about in diameter and may be colored from yellowish white to black. They are an important spice in many regional foods and may come from one of three diff ...
, and oil-producing
rapeseed Rapeseed (''Brassica napus ''subsp.'' napus''), also known as rape, or oilseed rape, is a bright-yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family), cultivated mainly for its oil-rich seed, which naturally contains a ...
). Some forms with white or purple foliage or flowerheads are also sometimes grown for ornament. ''Brassica'' species are sometimes used as food plants by the
larva A larva (; plural larvae ) is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect developmental biology, development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of t ...
e of a number of
Lepidoptera Lepidoptera ( ) is an order (biology), order of insects that includes butterfly, butterflies and moths (both are called lepidopterans). About 180,000 species of the Lepidoptera are described, in 126 Family (biology), families and 46 Taxonomic r ...
species—see List of Lepidoptera that feed on Brassica.


Cooking

Boiling substantially reduces the levels of broccoli glucosinolates, while other cooking methods, such as
steaming Steaming is a method of cooking using steam. This is often done with a food steamer, a kitchen appliance made specifically to cook food with steam, but food can also be steamed in a wok. In the American southwest, steam pits used for cooking have ...
,
microwaving A microwave oven (commonly referred to as a microwave) is an electric oven that heats and cooks food by exposing it to electromagnetic spectrum, electromagnetic radiation in the microwave frequency range. This induces Dipole#Molecular dipoles, ...
, and
stir frying Stir frying () is a List of cooking techniques, cooking technique in which ingredients are fried in a small amount of very hot oil while being stirred or tossed in a wok. The technique originated in China and in recent centuries has spread int ...
, have no significant effect on glucosinolate levels.


Species

There is some disagreement among botanists on the classification and status of ''Brassica'' species and subspecies. The following is an abbreviated list, with an emphasis on economically important species. * '' Brassica balearica'': Mallorca cabbage * '' Brassica carinata'': Abyssinian mustard or Abyssinian cabbage, used to produce
biodiesel Biodiesel is a form of diesel fuel derived from plants or animals and consisting of long-chain fatty acid esters. It is typically made by chemically reacting lipids such as animal fat (tallow), soybean oil, or some other vegetable oil with ...
* '' Brassica elongata'': elongated mustard * '' Brassica fruticulosa'': Mediterranean cabbage * '' Brassica hilarionis'': St. Hilarion cabbage * '' Brassica juncea'': Indian mustard, brown and leaf mustards, Sarepta mustard * ''
Brassica napus Rapeseed (''Brassica napus ''subsp.'' napus''), also known as rape, or oilseed rape, is a bright-yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family), cultivated mainly for its oil-rich seed, which naturally contains a ...
'':
rapeseed Rapeseed (''Brassica napus ''subsp.'' napus''), also known as rape, or oilseed rape, is a bright-yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family), cultivated mainly for its oil-rich seed, which naturally contains a ...
,
canola file:CanolaBlooms.JPG, Close-up of canola blooms file:Canola Flower.jpg, Canola flower Rapeseed oil is one of the oldest known Vegetable oil, vegetable oils. There are both Edible oil, edible and industrial forms produced from rapeseed, the see ...
,
rutabaga Rutabaga (; North American English) or swede (British English and some Commonwealth English) is a root vegetable, a form of ''Brassica napus'' (which also includes rapeseed). Other names include Swedish turnip, neep (Scots), and Turnip (termin ...
, Siberian kale * '' Brassica narinosa'': broadbeaked mustard * ''
Brassica nigra ''Brassica nigra'', or black mustard, is an annual plant cultivated for its dark-brown-to-black seeds, which are commonly used as a spice. It is native to tropical regions of North Africa, temperate regions of Europe, and parts of Asia. De ...
'': black mustard * ''
Brassica oleracea ''Brassica oleracea'' is a plant species from family Brassicaceae that includes many common cultivars used as vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, Savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, and gai lan. Its u ...
'':
kale Kale (), or leaf cabbage, belongs to a group of cabbage (''Brassica oleracea'') cultivars grown for their vegetable, edible leaves, although some are used as Kale#Ornamental kale, ornamentals. Kale plants have green or purple leaves, and the c ...
,
cabbage Cabbage, comprising several cultivars of ''Brassica oleracea'', is a leafy green, red (purple), or white (pale green) biennial plant grown as an Annual plant, annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. It is descended from the wild cabb ...
, collard greens,
broccoli Broccoli (''Brassica oleracea'' var. ''italica'') is an edible green plant in the Brassicaceae, cabbage family (family Brassicaceae, genus ''Brassica'') whose large Pseudanthium, flowering head, plant stem, stalk and small associated leafy gree ...
,
cauliflower Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species '' Brassica oleracea'' in the genus '' Brassica'', which is in the Brassicaceae (or mustard) family. It is an annual plant An annual plant is a plant that completes its biological l ...
, ''
kai-lan Gai lan, kai-lan, Chinese broccoli, Chinese kale, or jie lan (''Brassica oleracea'' var. ''alboglabra'') is a leaf vegetable with thick, flat, glossy blue-green leaves with thick stems, and florets similar to (but much smaller than) broccoli. ...
'',
Brussels sprout The Brussels sprout is a member of the Gemmifera cultivar group of cabbages (''Brassica oleracea''), grown for its edible buds. The leaf vegetables are typically 1.5–4.0 cm (0.6–1.6 in) in diameter and resemble miniature cabbages ...
s,
kohlrabi Kohlrabi (pronounced ; scientific name ''Brassica oleracea'' Gongylodes Group (horticulture), Group), also called German turnip or turnip cabbage, is a Biennial plant, biennial vegetable, a low, stout cultivar of wild cabbage. It is a cultivar o ...
* '' Brassica perviridis'': tender green, mustard spinach * ''
Brassica rapa ''Brassica rapa'' is a plant species growing in various widely cultivated forms including the turnip (a root vegetable); napa cabbage, bomdong, bok choy, and rapini. ''Brassica rapa'' subsp. ''oleifera'' is an oilseed which has many common nam ...
'' (syn. ''B. campestris''):
Chinese cabbage Chinese cabbage (''Brassica rapa'', subspecies ''pekinensis'' and ''chinensis'') can refer to two cultivar groups of leaf vegetables often used in Chinese cuisine: the Pekinensis Group (napa cabbage) and the Chinensis Group (bok choy). These ...
,
turnip The turnip or white turnip (''Brassica rapa'' subsp. ''rapa'') is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, fleshy taproot. The word ''turnip'' is a compound (linguistics), compound of ''turn'' as in turned/r ...
,
rapini Rapini or broccoli rabe () is a green cruciferous vegetable, with the leaves, buds, and stems all being edible; the buds somewhat resemble broccoli, but do not form a large head. Rapini is known for its bitter taste, and is particularly associ ...
, '' komatsuna'' * '' Brassica rupestris'' Raf. * '' Brassica spinescens'': * '' Brassica tournefortii'': Asian mustard


Species formerly placed in ''Brassica''

* ''B. alba'' or ''B. hirta'' (white or yellow mustard)—see ''
Sinapis alba White mustard (''Sinapis alba'') is an annual plant An annual plant is a plant that completes its biological life cycle, life cycle, from germination to the production of seeds, within one growing season, and then dies. The length of growi ...
'' * ''B. geniculata'' (hoary mustard)—see '' Hirschfeldia incana'' * ''B. kaber'' (wild mustard or charlock)—see '' Sinapis arvensis''


Genome sequencing and genetics

Bayer CropScience Bayer AG (, commonly pronounced ; ) is a German multinational corporation, multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Headquartered in Leverkusen, Bayer's areas of busi ...
(in collaboration with BGI-Shenzhen, China; KeyGene; the Netherlands and the University of Queensland, Australia) announced it had sequenced the entire genome of rapeseed (canola, ''Brassica napus'') and its constituent genomes present in ''B. rapa'' and ''B. oleracea'' in 2009. The ''B. rapa'' genome was sequenced by the Multinational Brassica Genome Project in 2011. This also represents the A genome component of the amphidiploid crop species ''B. napus'' and ''B. juncea''.


Etymology

'Brassica' was
Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman Empire, Roman author, Natural history, naturalist and Natural philosophy, natural philosopher, and naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and a friend of t ...
's name for several cabbage-like plants.Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press. (hardback), (paperback). pp 76


References


External links

* {{Authority control Brassicaceae genera Taxa named by Carl Linnaeus