Cabbage plants

The cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) is an edible plant of the Family Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae). It is herbaceous, biennial, and a dicotyledonous flowering plant with leaves forming a characteristic compact head. Surprisingly, broccoli (var. italica), cauliflower (var. botrytis), kohlrabi (var. caulorapa) and brussels sprouts (var. gemmifera), Chinese kale or Chinese broccoli (var. alboglabra), broccolini (var. italica x alboglabra) and broccoflower (var. italica x botrytis) are varieties of the same plant species: Brassica oleracea.

The cabbage head was bred into the species from the leafy wild plant, found in the Mediterranean region around 100 CE. The English name derives from the French caboche (head). Varieties include Red cabbage, Savoy cabbage, and Chinese cabbage.

Cabbages are commonly used both cooked and as a salad vegetable. They keep well and were thus a common winter vegetable before refrigeration and long-distance shipping of produce. Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage often used as a condiment or side dish.

The caterpillars of some butterflies in the family Pieridae (the "whites") feed on brassicas and can be serious pests.

See also: Kerguelen cabbage (Pringlea antiscorbutica)

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