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Brassica oleracea

Brassica oleracea, Photo:

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids II
Ordo: Brassicales

Familia: Brassicaceae
Tribus: Brassiceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: Brassica oleracea
Varietas: B. o. var. alboglabra – B. o. var. botrytis – B. o. var. capitata – B. o. var. costata – B. o. var. gemmifera – B. o. var. gongylodes – B. o. var. italica – B. o. var. medullosa – B. o. var. oleracea – B. o. var. palmifolia – B. o. var. ramosa – B. o. var. sabauda – B. o. var. sabellica – B. o. var. viridis

Brassica oleracea L., 1753

Brassica maritima Tardent
Crucifera brassica E.H.L.Krause


Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus II: 667. Reference page.


Koch, M.A. et al. 2019. Brassica oleracea in BrassiBase Tools and biological resources to study characters and traits in the Brassicaceae. Published online. Accessed: 2019 May 21.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Brassica oleracea. Published online. Accessed: May 21 2019.
The Plant List 2013. Brassica oleracea in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published online. Accessed: 2019 May 21. 2019. Brassica oleracea. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 21 May 2019.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Brassica oleracea in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service.

Vernacular names
беларуская: Капуста агародная
čeština: Brukev zelná
Deutsch: Gemüsekohl
English: Wild mustard
español: Col Silvestre
suomi: Kaali
Nordfriisk: (Wil) Kual
français: Chou commun
magyar: Vadkáposzta
italiano: Cavolo
latviešu: Dārza kāposts
македонски: Дива зелка
Mirandés: Berça
Nederlands: Kool
polski: Kapusta Warzywna
português: Couve
svenska: Kål
ไทย: กะหล่ำ
Türkçe: Lahana
中文(简体): 甘蓝
中文(繁體): 甘藍

Brassica oleracea is a plant species that includes many common cultivars, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, Savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, and gai lan.

In its uncultivated form, it is called wild cabbage and is native to coastal southern and western Europe. A hardy plant in its uncultivated form, its high tolerance for salt and lime, and its intolerance of competition from other plants, typically restrict its natural occurrence to limestone sea cliffs, like the chalk cliffs on both sides of the English Channel,[3] and the windswept coast on the western side of the Isle of Wight. Genetic analysis of nine wild populations on the French Atlantic coast indicated their common feral origin, deriving from domesticated plants escaped from fields and gardens.[4]

Wild B. oleracea is a tall biennial plant that forms a stout rosette of large leaves in the first year. The leaves are fleshier and thicker than other Brassica species—an adaptation that helps it store water and nutrients in its difficult growing environment. In its second year, it uses the stored nutrients to produce a flower spike 1 to 2 metres (3–7 ft) tall with numerous yellow flowers.

Its specific epithet oleracea means "vegetable/herbal" in Latin and is a form of holeraceus (oleraceus).[5][6]

Cultivation and uses
Head of B. oleracea Botrytis group (cauliflower) growing

B. oleracea has become established as an important human food crop plant, used because of its large food reserves, which are stored over the winter in its leaves. It is rich in essential nutrients including vitamin C. It has been bred into a wide range of cultivars, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collards, and kale, some of which are hardly recognizable as being members of the same genus, let alone species.[7] The historical genus of Crucifera, meaning "cross-bearing" in reference to the four-petaled flowers, may be the only unifying feature beyond taste.

Researchers believe it has been cultivated for several thousand years, but its history as a domesticated plant is not clear before Greek and Roman times, when it was a well-established garden vegetable. Theophrastus mentions three kinds of rhaphanos (ῤάφανος):[8] a curly-leaved, a smooth-leaved, and a wild-type.[9] He reports the antipathy of the cabbage and the grape vine, for the ancients believed cabbages grown near grapes would impart their flavour to the wine.[10]

A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables (e.g., cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) is linked to a reduced risk of several human cancers.[11][12]
A small tree with large leaves
Jersey cabbage can be cultivated to grow quite large, especially in frost-free climates.

According to the Triangle of U theory, B. oleracea is very closely related to five other species of the genus Brassica.[13]
Jersey walking sticks

The cultivars of B. oleracea are grouped by developmental form into seven major cultivar groups, of which the Acephala ("non-heading") group remains most like the natural wild cabbage in appearance:

Brassica oleracea Acephala group – kale
Brassica oleracea Viridis group – collard greens
Brassica oleracea Alboglabra group – kai-lan (Chinese broccoli)
Brassica oleracea Botrytis group – cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli, and broccoflower
Brassica oleracea Capitata group – cabbage
Brassica oleracea Gemmifera group – Brussels sprouts
Brassica oleracea Gongylodes group – kohlrabi
Brassica oleracea Italica group – broccoli

In places such as the Channel Islands and Canary Islands, where the frost is minimal and plants are thus freed from seasonality, some cultivars, known as Jersey cabbages, can grow up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall.[14] These "tree cabbages" yield fresh leaves throughout the year, are perennial, and do not need to be destroyed at harvest as with a normal cabbage. Their woody stalks are sometimes dried and made into walking sticks.[15][16]
Market Scene, painting by Pieter Aertsen (1569)

With the advent of agriculture and the domestication of wild crop plants, the people of the northern Mediterranean began cultivating wild cabbage. Through artificial selection for various phenotype traits, the emergence of variations of the plant with drastic differences in looks took only a few thousand years. Preference for leaves, terminal bud, lateral bud, stem, and inflorescence resulted in selection of varieties of wild cabbage into the many forms known today.[17]
Impact of preference

The preference for the eating of the leaves led to the selection of plants with larger leaves being harvested and their seeds planted for the next growth. Around the fifth century BC, the formation of what is now known as kale had developed.[18]
Preference led to further artificial selection of kale plants with more tightly bunched leaves, or terminal bud. Somewhere around the first century AD emerged the phenotype variation of B. oleracea known as cabbage.
Phenotype selection preferences in Germany resulted in a new variation from the kale cultivar. By selecting for fatter stems, the variant plant known as kohlrabi emerged around the first century AD.
European preference emerged for eating immature buds, selection for inflorescence. Early records in 15th century AD, indicate that early cauliflower and broccoli heading types were found throughout southern Italy and Sicily, although these types may not have been resolved into distinct cultivars until about 100 years later.[19][7][20][21]
Further selection in Belgium in lateral bud led to Brussels sprouts in the 18th century.

Medicinal use

The Lumbee tribe of North Carolina has traditionally used the leaves of B. oleracea in medicine that they believed to have cleansing qualities, as well as a mild laxative, an anti-inflammatory, and treatment for glaucoma and pneumonia.[22]
Several cultivars of B. oleracea, including kale, Brussels sprouts, savoy, and Chinese kale
Genetics in relation to taste

The TAS2R38 gene encodes a G protein-coupled receptor that functions as a taste receptor, mediated by ligands such as PROP and phenylthiocarbamide that bind to the receptor and initiate signaling that confers various degrees of taste perception. Vegetables in the brassica family, such as collard greens, kale, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, contain glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which resemble PROP, and therefore much of the perceived "bitterness" of these vegetables is mediated through TAS2R38. Bitter taste receptors in the TS2R family are also found in gut mucosal and pancreatic cells in humans and rodents. These receptors influence release of hormones involved in appetite regulation, such as peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1, and therefore may influence caloric intake and the development of obesity. Thus, bitter taste perception may affect dietary behaviors by influencing both taste preferences and metabolic hormonal regulation.[23]

Three variants in the TAS2R38 gene – rs713598, rs1726866, and rs10246939 – are in high linkage disequilibrium in most populations and result in amino acid coding changes that lead to a range of bitter taste perception phenotypes. The PAV haplotype is dominant; therefore, individuals with at least one copy of the PAV allele perceive molecules in vegetables that resemble PROP as tasting bitter, and consequently may develop an aversion to bitter vegetables. In contrast, individuals with two AVI haplotypes are bitter non-tasters. PAV and AVI haplotypes are the most common, though other haplotypes exist that confer intermediate bitter taste sensitivity (AAI, AAV, AVV, and PVI). This taste aversion may apply to vegetables in general.[23][24]

Cultivar Image Name
Wild cabbage Brassica oleracea wild.jpg Brassica oleracea var. oleracea
Cabbage Brassica oleracea2.jpg Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. alba
Savoy cabbage Savoy Cabbage.jpg Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. sabauda
Red cabbage Cabbage - Indian Botanic Garden - Howrah 2012-01-29 1733.JPG Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. rubra
Cone cabbage Brassica oleracea convar. capitata var. alba, spitskool (1).jpg Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. acuta
Gai lan Gailan.jpg Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra
Collard greens Collard greens in Galicia, <a href=Spain.jpg" decoding="async" srcset="// 1.5x, // 2x" data-file-width="1280" data-file-height="960" height="75" width="100" /> Brassica oleracea var. viridis
Jersey cabbage Tree cabbage.jpg Brassica oleracea var. longata
Ornamental kale Ornamental Kale.jpg Brassica oleracea var. acephala
Kale Boerenkool.jpg Brassica oleracea var. sabellica
Kalette Kalettes stem and indivisual.jpg Brassica oleracea var. viridis x gemmifera
Lacinato kale PalmkohlPflanze.jpg Brassica oleracea var. palmifolia
Perpetual kale Chou vivace.JPG Brassica oleracea var. ramosa
Marrow cabbage Blauer stangenkohl.jpg Brassica oleracea var. medullosa
Tronchuda kale Chou au Parc floral.JPG Brassica oleracea var. costata
Brussels sprout Brussels sprouts (4103982312) (2).jpg Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera
Kohlrabi Kalarepa (Poznan).jpg Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes
Broccoli Broccoli2.jpg Brassica oleracea var. italica
Cauliflower Cauliflower 2 bd-c.jpg Brassica oleracea var. botrytis
Caulini Brassica oleracea var. botrytis
Romanesco broccoli Romanesco in Europe.jpg Brassica oleracea var. botrytis
Broccoli di Torbole Broccolo torbole 1.jpg Brassica oleracea var. botrytis
Broccoflower Broccoflower.JPG Brassica oleracea var. botrytis x italica
Broccolini Broccolini.jpg Brassica oleracea var. italica × alboglabra


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Parker, Peter (2018). A Little Book of Latin for Gardeners. Little Brown Book Group. p. 328. ISBN 978-1-4087-0615-2. "oleraceus, holeraceus = relating to vegetables or kitchen garden"
Whitney, William Dwight (1899). The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia. Century Co. p. 2856. "L. holeraceus, prop. oleraceus, herb-like, holus, prop. olus (oler-), herbs, vegetables"
Stansell, Zachary; Hyma, Katie; Fresnedo-Ramírez, Jonathan; Sun, Qi; Mitchell, Sharon; Björkman, Thomas; Hua, Jian (2018-07-01). "Genotyping-by-sequencing of Brassica oleracea vegetables reveals unique phylogenetic patterns, population structure and domestication footprints". Horticulture Research. 5 (1): 38. doi:10.1038/s41438-018-0040-3. ISSN 2052-7276. PMC 6026498. PMID 29977574. S2CID 49552482.
Compare Theophrastus; raphanis (ραφανίς), "radish", also a Brassica.
Zohary, Daniel; Hopf, Maria; Weiss, Ehud (2012). Domestication of Plants in the Old World: The Origin and Spread of Domesticated Plants in Southwest Asia, Europe, and the Mediterranean Basin. OUP Oxford. p. 199. ISBN 978-0199549061.
Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants, IV.6.16; Deipnosophistae, I, noting the effects of cabbages on wine and wine-drinkers, also quotes Apollodorus of Carystus: "If they think that our calling it a rhaphanos, while you foreigners call it a krambê, makes any difference to us women!" (on-line English text).
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de Rus Jacquet, Aurélie; Timmers, Michael; Ma, Sin Ying; Thieme, Andrew; McCabe, George P.; Vest, Jay Hansford C.; Lila, Mary Ann; Rochet, Jean-Christophe (2017-07-12). "Lumbee traditional medicine: Neuroprotective activities of medicinal plants used to treat Parkinson's disease-related symptoms". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 206: 408–425. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2017.02.021. PMC 6149226. PMID 28214539.
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