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Useful Temperate Plants

Brassica oleracea italica

Plenck

Brassicaceae


This species has been cultivated as a food crop for many hundreds of years and, in that time, several quite distinct forms have arisen. The nomenclature of these forms is confused, to say the least, and by no means universally accepted. We have followed the treatment used by GRIN, though it is very likely to be revised in the future[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Broccoli

No Image.

General Information

Sprouting broccoli is a biennial plant, derived in cultivation from the wild cabbage. It grows around 100cm tall, branching freely and producing first a small central head and then many loose axillarly heads of flower buds.
The plant is often cultivated, both commercially and in the garden, for its edible flowering stems.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

A cultivated form of Brassica oleracea.

Habitat

Not known in the wild.

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
HabitBiennial
Height0.90 m
PollinatorsBees
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details

Sprouting broccoli originated through cultivation in the temperate zone, where it can be found at elevations up to 2,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 24°c, but can tolerate 3 - 35°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -5°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at 1°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Some forms are very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -17°c[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 900 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 350 - 2,000mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil[
16
Title
New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Simons.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1977
ISBN
0-14-046-050-0
Description
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a heavy soil[
16
Title
New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Simons.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1977
ISBN
0-14-046-050-0
Description
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
]. Succeeds in any reasonable soil[
33
Title
Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table.
Publication
 
Author
Organ. J.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1960
ISBN
-
Description
Unusual vegetables that can be grown outdoors in Britain. A good guide.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 6.8, but tolerates 5.5 to 8.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Succeeds in maritime gardens[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Yields can vary according to variety and growing conditions, but are generally within the range 4 - 10 tonnes per hectare[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Broccoli is closely related to the cauliflowers (Brassica oleracea botrytis) and is often grown for its edible young flowering stems which, by careful selection of varieties, can be available almost all year round from early summer right round to late spring. There are many named varieties and these can be classified into three main groups:-
Calabrese, which matures in summer and autumn. This is the least cold-hardy form. It produces green, or sometimes purple, flowering heads[
264
Title
Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Macmillan Reference Books, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0 333 62640 0
Description
Excellent and easily read book with good information and an excellent collection of photos of vegetables from around the world, including many unusual species.
]. Some forms will produce a number of side shoots once the main head has been harvested, though other forms seem unable to do this[
264
Title
Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Macmillan Reference Books, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0 333 62640 0
Description
Excellent and easily read book with good information and an excellent collection of photos of vegetables from around the world, including many unusual species.
].
Romanesco matures in late summer and the autumn. It has numerous yellowish-green conical groups of buds arranged in spirals[
264
Title
Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Macmillan Reference Books, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0 333 62640 0
Description
Excellent and easily read book with good information and an excellent collection of photos of vegetables from around the world, including many unusual species.
]. Given a little protection from the cold, it is possible to produce a crop throughout the winter. Unlike the other types of broccoli, romanesco seems unable to produce side shoots once the main head has been harvested[
264
Title
Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Macmillan Reference Books, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0 333 62640 0
Description
Excellent and easily read book with good information and an excellent collection of photos of vegetables from around the world, including many unusual species.
].
Sprouting broccoli is the most cold-hardy group. It does not form a central head like the other two groups but instead produces a mass of side shoots from early spring until early summer. The more you harvest these shoots, especially if you do so before the flowers open, then the more shoots the plant produces[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Sprouting broccoli plants come into production in late winter to early spring and can be very heavy bearing over a period of two months or more so long as all the flowering stems are harvested before coming into flower.

Edible Uses

Young flowering stems and leaves - raw or cooked[
33
Title
Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table.
Publication
 
Author
Organ. J.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1960
ISBN
-
Description
Unusual vegetables that can be grown outdoors in Britain. A good guide.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. The shoots of sprouting broccoli are harvested when about 10cm long, and before the flowers open, the shoots look somewhat like a small white or purple cauliflower and have a delicious flavour[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. They are considered to be a gourmet vegetable. When picking the stems, make sure that you leave behind a section of the stem with leaves on it, since the plants will often produce new side shoots from the leaf axils[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Calabrese and Romanesco plants produce a central inflorescence rather like a small cauliflower, which are sometimes followed by a number of smaller flowering shoots. They usually come into bearing in the late summer or autumn and are very productive if they are regularly harvested.

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

A good companion for celery and other aromatic plants since these seem to reduce insect predations[
18
Title
Companion Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B.
Publisher
Watkins
Year
1979
ISBN
-
Description
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
,
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
]. Grows badly with potatoes, beet and onions[
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
]. Grows well with potatoes, beet and onions according to another report[
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - sow sprouting broccoli in a seedbed outdoors in early spring to May. Plant out in early summer. Do not let the seedlings get overcrowded or they will soon become leggy and will not make such good plants. If your seedlings do get leggy, it is possible to plant them rather deeper into the soil - the buried stems will soon form roots and the plant will be better supported.
Romanesco and calabrese are often sown in situ in the spring.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2019-10-14. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Brassica+oleracea+italica>

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