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Mustard Family (Brassicaceae)

Other Edible Species

The turnip (Brassica rapa) is a biennial, cultivated plant. The starchy, yellowish, inflated root of this plant can be used as food by people, or it may be fed to livestock. The swede (Brassica napus) produces an edible structure similar to that of the turnip.

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a plant that develops an underground, starchy, bulb-like structure in the tissue region known as the hypocotyl, occurring between the true roots and the above-ground stem. The familiar radish that is eaten is this inflated hypocotyl. The most commonly grown variety is a round, red radish with a Cabbages. Photograph by James Sikkema. Reproduced by permission. white interior, but white and black varieties of various shapes also occur.

The pungent root of horse radish (Cochlearia armoracia) is harvested and ground with vinegar to manufacture a delicious, sharp-tasting condiment, often served with meats.

Mustard is a yellow condiment prepared from the ground seeds of white mustard (B. alba). Sometimes the seeds of black mustard (Brassica nigra) are also used for this purpose.

The seeds of rapeseed or canola (Brassica napus) contain up to 40% or more oil, which is extracted under pressure and used as an edible oil and for the preparation of margarine. The material left after the oil has been expressed is used as a nutritious fodder for livestock. Since the mid-1990s, rapeseed varieties have been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, allowing the use of that chemical to combat weeds during cultivation. However, the growing of transgenic crops has become extremely controversial, and many consumers object to the presence of oil from genetically engineered rapeseed in their foodstuffs.

Several other species of mustards are utilized for their edible leaves. The bok choy (Brassica chinensis), petsai (B. pekinensis), and false bok choy (B. parachinensis) are important as cooked or steamed vegetables in the Orient. Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is an annual aquatic plant whose tender, dark-green leaves are served as a steamed vegetable. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is another leafy, annual plant in which the raw or steamed foliage is eaten as a nutritious vegetable.

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