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Genus Brassica Family Brassicaceae

Description: Annual, biennial or perennial herbs, glaucous, glabrous or with scattered simple hairs. Lower leaves usually lyrate-pinnatisect, petiolate; upper leaves reducing.

Inflorescence paniculate or corymbose, flowers usually yellow.

Siliqua terete to somewhat flattened, commonly partly contracted between seeds, valves usually with 1 prominent vein; beak mostly seedless (rarely 1- or 2-seeded); seeds numerous in valve region, 1 row per loculus.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 100 species, Europe, Mediterranean & Asia. Australia: 9 species (several varieties introduced & naturalized), all States.

Many species are cultivated for food. Brassica oleracea L. is widely cultivated and many selected forms are recognized as varieties: var. capitata (Cabbage), var. gemmifera (Brussels Sprouts), var. botrytis (Cauliflower), var. italica (Broccoli). Other useful species of Brassica include B. rapa (Turnip, Wild Turnip), B. napus (Swede, Coleseed and Rape), B. fimbriata (Kale), B. nigra (Black Mustard) and B. chinensis (Chinese Cabbage).

Text by L. Retter & G. J. Harden
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Brassica napus,    Brassica x napus

 Key to the species 
1Upper stem leaves sessile and more or less bract-like or upper part of stem leafless2
Upper stem leaves petiolate or narrowed to base3
2At least basal leaves hairy, stem leaves at least half stem-claspingBrassica rapa
All leaves glabrous, glaucous, stem leaves less than a third stem-clasping
                       Back to 1
Brassica oleracea
3Ovary on a gynophoreBrassica fruticulosa
Ovary sessile
                       Back to 1
4
4Fruit spreading on pedicel 7–20 mm long; beak more than 4 mm long5
Fruit appressed on pedicel 2–5 mm long; beak less than 4 mm long
                       Back to 3
Brassica nigra
5Basal leaves lyrate-pinnatisect with 1 or 2 pairs of lobes, sparsely bristly; beak 4–10 mm long, narrower than stigmaBrassica juncea
Basal leaves runcinate-pinnatisect with 6–10 pairs of lobes, densely bristly; beak 8–20 mm long, as broad as the stigma
                       Back to 4
Brassica tournefortii

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