1 minute read

Mustard Family (Brassicaceae)

The Many Varieties Of The Cabbage

The cabbage occurs in a remarkably wide range of cultivated varieties. Each of these varieties represents culturally selected variants of the basic species, the colewort (Brassica oleracea), originally native to Eurasia. Hybridization with some other species of Brassica was also likely important in the development of some of the domesticated varieties of the cabbage.

The most common variety in cultivation is the garden cabbage, a biennial plant harvested after the end of its first growing season and eaten as a nutritious vegetable. This variety has been cultivated in the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. The fleshy leaves are aggregated into a head-like structure and are eaten raw or processed into cole slaw, sauerkraut, or some other dishes. The most common variety is green colored, but there is also a red variety known as red cabbage. The savoy cabbage is a less-common, more open-headed variety.

The curly kale is a leafy vegetable that does not form a compact head. Brussels sprouts look like tiny cabbages, but they develop in large numbers on the erect stem of this variety of cabbage. These sprouts can be harvested, and new ones will re-grow until the first hard frosts of autumn stop the regeneration. Kohlrabi is a starchy vegetable that develops as a short, inflated part of the above-ground stem. Kohlrabi can be green, white, or red in color. Cauliflower is a compact, white, modified inflorescence. Broccoli is a more erect, green, modified inflorescence.

All of the varieties of cabbage are very nutritious foods, high in energy, vitamin C, iron and other minerals, roughage, and other useful qualities.

There are also some horticultural varieties of cabbage. These are valued for their multi-hued foliage of green, purple, and red. The colors of these plants last well into the early winter, so these horticultural cabbages can brighten gardens long after flowers have withered and the foliage of most ornamental species has been shed.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Molecular distillation to My station and its duties:Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) - The Many Varieties Of The Cabbage, Other Edible Species, Weeds