Skip to main content
You are here
Facebook icon
Pinterest icon
Twitter icon

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.


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).


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.


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


main info

Help us solve a 2,000 year-old mystery

Aloe vera in Kew's Princess of Wales Conservatory

Find out how you can help Kew scientists unlock the benefits of Aloe vera.

State of the World’s Plants report – out now

Pantanal in Brazil

Kew has launched a ground-breaking new report highlighting the global status of plants.