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Brassica oleracea (wild cabbage)

Cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all cultivars of the same species, Brassica oleracea.
Brassica oleracea wild cabbage

Wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea) (Photo: Kulac, licensed under CC by 3.0)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Brassica oleracea L.

Common name: 

wild cabbage, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, broccoflower, kale, borecole, collards, gai laan, kai lan, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, knol-kohl, purple sprouting, sprouting broccoli, calabrese.

Conservation status: 

Not considered to be threatened; widespread in cultivation.

Habitat: 

Coastal; on seaside cliffs.

Key Uses: 

Food, fodder, ornamental.

Known hazards: 

Contains glucosinolates, which can cause goitre (enlargement of the thyroid gland) if consumed in large quantities (although also thought to provide protection against cancer).

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Rosanae
Order: 
Brassicales
Family: 
Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica

About this species

Brassica oleracea has been cultivated for at least 2,000 years, possibly much longer, and a wide variety of forms have been developed. Although considerably different in general appearance, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all cultivars of Brassica oleracea.

Brassica oleracea is a member of the cabbage family (Brassicaceae), which also includes turnip (Brassica rapa) and radish (Raphanus sativus). The common name cabbage derives from the French caboche, meaning head.

Synonym: 

Brassica alboglabra L.H.Bailey, Brassica arborea Steud., Brassica bullata Pasq. (full list is available on The Plant List)

Genus: 
Brassica

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