Brassica rapa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica

See text.

Brassica (play /ˈbræsɨkə/ brás-si-ca) is a genus of plants in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). The members of the genus may be collectively known either as cabbages, or as mustards. Crops from this genus are sometimes called cole crops, which is derived from the Latin caulis, meaning stem or cabbage.[1]

This genus is remarkable for containing more important agricultural and horticultural crops than any other genus[citation needed]. It also includes a number of weeds, both wild taxa and escapees from cultivation. It includes over 30 wild species and hybrids, and numerous additional cultivars and hybrids of cultivated origin. Most are annuals or biennials, but some are small shrubs. Due to their agricultural importance, Brassica plants have been the subject of much scientific interest. Six particularly important species (Brassica carinata, B. juncea, B. oleracea, B. napus, B. nigra and B. rapa) are derived by combining the chromosomes from three earlier species, as described by the Triangle of U theory.

The genus is native in the wild in western Europe, the Mediterranean and temperate regions of Asia. In addition to the cultivated species, which are grown worldwide, many of the wild species grow as weeds, especially in North America, South America, and Australia.




Almost all parts of some species or other have been developed for food, including the root (rutabaga, turnips), stems (kohlrabi), leaves (cabbage, kale), flowers (cauliflower, broccoli), and seeds (many, including mustard seed, and oil-producing rapeseed). Some forms with white or purple foliage or flowerheads are also sometimes grown for ornament.

Brassica species are sometimes used as food plants by the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species—see List of Lepidoptera that feed on Brassica.


Brassica vegetables are highly regarded for their nutritional value. They provide high amounts of vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients with potent anticancer properties: 3,3'-diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and selenium.[citation needed] Boiling reduces the level of anticancer compounds, but steaming, microwaving, and stir frying do not result in significant loss.[2] Steaming the vegetable for three to four minutes is recommended to maximize sulforaphane.[3]

Brassica vegetables are rich in indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.[4][5] They are also a good source of carotenoids, with broccoli having especially high levels.[6] Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have recently discovered that 3,3'-diindolylmethane in Brassica vegetables is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with potent antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer activity;[7] however, it also is an antiandrogen.[8] These vegetables also contain goitrogens, which suppress thyroid function. This can induce hypothyroidism and goiter.[9]


There is some disagreement among botanists on the classification and status of Brassica species and subspecies.[citation needed] The following is an abbreviated list, with an emphasis on economically important species.

Deprecated species names

Genome sequencing and genetics

Bayer Cropscience (in collaboration with BGI-Shenzhen, China, Keygene N.V., the Netherlands and the University of Queensland, Australia) announced it had sequenced the entire genome of rapeseed/canola (Brassica napus) and its constituent genomes present in B. rapa and B. oleracea in 2009.[10] The B. rapa genome is currently being sequenced by the Multinational Brassica Genome Project. This also represents the A genome component of the amphidiploid crop species B. napus and B. juncea.[11]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick (2007-05-15). "Research Says Boiling Broccoli Ruins Its Anti Cancer Properties.". 
  3. ^ "Maximizing The Anti-Cancer Power Of Broccoli". Science Daily. 2005-04-05. 
  4. ^ "Broccoli chemical's cancer check". BBC News. 7 February 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "How Dietary Supplement May Block Cancer Cells". Science Daily. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "Breeding Better Broccoli: Research Points To Pumped Up Lutein Levels In Broccoli". Science Daily. 8 November 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "3,3'-Diindolylmethane induces a G(1) arrest in human prostate cancer cells irrespective of androgen receptor and p53 status". 
  8. ^ Plant-derived 3,3'-Diindolylmethane is a strong androgen antagonist in human prostate cancer cells.
  9. ^ Goitrogens
  10. ^ Bayer Sequence Genome of Canola The Bioenergy Site, Retrieved 8 November 2010
  11. ^ "The website for the Multinational Brassica Genome Project". 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Brassica — Brassica …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Brassica — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda ? Brassica Brassica rapa Clasificación científic …   Wikipedia Español

  • Brassica — Bras si*ca, prop. n. [L., cabbage.] (Bot.) A genus of plants embracing several species and varieties differing much in appearance and qualities: such as the common cabbage ({Brassica oleracea}), broccoli, cauliflowers, etc.; the wild turnip… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • BRASSICA — in Amphidromtis olim, apud Athenienses, adhibita legitur apud Athenaeum l. 9. ubi versus hac de re Ephippi in Geryone Latine sic habent: Cum Amphidromia celebrentur, quibus mas est Assare frusta casei Chersonitae, Oleoque brassicam in fasciculos… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Brassĭca — (Br. L.), Pflanzengattung aus der Familie der Cruciferae Orthoploceae Brassiceae, 15. Kl. 2. Ordn. L., Kelch aufrecht, meist angedrückt, 2 Drüsen unter den Klappen u. 2 unter den Samenleisten; Schoten rundlich, pfriemenspitzig, Klappen bei der… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Brassĭca — L. (Kohl), Gattung der Kruziferen, ein oder mehrjährige Kräuter, mit leierförmigen, fiederteiligen oder ungeteilten Blättern, gelben, selten weißen Blüten in verlängerten Trauben, verlängerten, geschnäbelten Schoten und kugeligen Samen. Etwa 50… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • brássica — s. f. [Botânica] Gênero tipo das crucíferas e a que pertence a couve …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • brassica — ► NOUN ▪ a plant of a family that includes cabbage, swede, rape, and mustard. ORIGIN Latin, cabbage …   English terms dictionary

  • Brassica — Brassica …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Brassica — Kohl Brassica juncea Systematik Klasse: Dreifurchenpollen Zweikeimblättrige (Rosopsida) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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