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Useful Tropical Plants

Brassica oleracea capitata

L.

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

Brassica capitata (L.) H.Lév.

Brassica oleracea alba DC.

Brassica oleracea conica DC.

Brassica oleracea rubra L.

Brassica rubra Steud.

Common Name: Cabbage

No Image.

General Information

Cultivated cabbages are biennial plants developed through cultivation from the wild cabbage. The plants have a highly shortened, not fleshy, stem base, they produce a few more or less horizontal leaves and then the leaves become strongly overlapping to form a compact, more or less globose head of leaves that can be 30cm or more in diameter.
The plant is very widely cultivated, especially in the temperate zone, for its edible head of leaves.

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 *  *  *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitBiennial
Height0.75 m
PollinatorsBees
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details

The cultivated cabbage was developed in the temperate zone and can withstand quite cold winters. It can also be grown in the tropics - though there it is best grown at elevations above 800 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 24°c, but can tolerate 7 - 32°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 -10°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.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 - 1,000mm, but tolerates 300 - 2,500mm[
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.
]. A difference of about 5°c between day and night temperatures appears to be necessary for adequate head development. Normally, flower initiation and stem elongation are induced by low winter temperatures of the order 4 - 7°c for several weeks[
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.
]. Cabbages are adapted to 60 - 90% relative air humidity and low humidity may cause wilting[
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.
,
37
Title
The Gardener's Assistant.
Publication
 
Author
Thompson. B.
Publisher
Blackie and Son.
Year
1878
ISBN
-
Description
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
,
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 and a cool moist climate[
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.
,
27
Title
The Vegetable Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Vilmorin. A.
Publisher
Ten Speed Press
Year
 
ISBN
0-89815-041-8
Description
A reprint of a nineteenth century classic, giving details of vegetable varieties. Not really that informative though.
]. Succeeds in any reasonable soil. 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.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7.5, tolerating 5 - 8.3[
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.
].
There are three main types of cabbage:-
The common hearting cabbage has dark green leaves, becoming paler towards the middle of the heart,
Dutch cabbages form a much larger heart and the leaves, which have a milder flavour, are a pale green or even white.
Red cabbages, as the name implies, have red leaves.
There are many named varieties of each type and by careful choice of varieties it is possible to ensure a year round supply of fresh leaves.
Several varieties have also been developed that succeed at low elevations in the tropics, though generally it is best to grow cabbages at elevations above 800 metres there[
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 varieties have been selected for the ornamental value of their leaves, these tend to be of poor culinary quality[
206
Title
Oriental Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom J.
Publisher
John Murray
Year
1991
ISBN
0-7195-4781-4
Description
Well written and very informative.
].
Early maturing varieties can be ready to harvest within 60 - 90 days from sowing, whilst winter or spring maturing forms can take 200 days or more[
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.
].
Yields of cabbages varies widely depending on the cultivar grown, but yields are generally within the range 12 - 40 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.
].
Cabbages are good companions for dill, camomile, sage, wormwood, mint and other aromatic plants which help to reduce insect predations on the cabbages[
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.
,
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.
]. Cabbages also grow well with potatoes and beet[
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.
]. They grow badly with strawberries, tomatoes and climbing beans[
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.
,
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.
].

Edible Uses

Leaves - raw or cooked[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
27
Title
The Vegetable Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Vilmorin. A.
Publisher
Ten Speed Press
Year
 
ISBN
0-89815-041-8
Description
A reprint of a nineteenth century classic, giving details of vegetable varieties. Not really that informative though.
,
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.
]. Cabbages are generally used as a cooked vegetable, though the shredded leaves can also be eaten in salads. Dutch cabbages are generally sweeter and milder in flavour making them more suitable for raw eating. Those leaves in the heart of the plants are more tender than outside leaves and so are also more suitable for eating raw. These heart leaves, though, are less nutritious because they have been excluded from the light[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Many people find that the raw leaves give them indigestion[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The leaves can be fermented and made into sauerkraut, used as a health food and said to be good for the digestive system[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. By careful selection of cultivars, it is possible to harvest cabbages all year round[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Seeds - sprouted and added to salads. Very good eating[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

A blue dye can be obtained from the leaves of purple cultivars[
168
Title
Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Grae. I.
Publisher
MacMillan Publishing Co. New York.
Year
1974
ISBN
0-02-544950-8
Description
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
].

Propagation

Seed -sow in situ

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