Brassica rapa perviridis
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[
Brassica perviridis (L.H.Bailey) L.H.Bailey.
Common Name: Mustard Spinach
Plant prepared for sale in the market
Photograph by: Joga
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Mustard spinach is an annual to biennial plant developed in cultivation from Brassica rapa. Growing from a non-fleshy taproot, it forms a rosette of leaves up to 20cm tall from which eventually arises a flowering stem up to 75cm tall.
The plant is widely cultivated in the Orient for its edible leaves[
The oil contained in the seed of some varieties of this species can be rich in erucic acid which is toxic. However, modern cultivars have been selected which are almost free of erucic acid.
A cultivar of garden origin.
Not known in the wild, it probably arose from B. rapa chinensis, Pak choi[
Succeeds in full sun in a moisture-retentive well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil[
]. Prefers a cool moist reasonably fertile soil[
]. The plant is somewhat deeper rooted than many of the oriental brassicas and is more tolerant of drought, though it grows best if it is not short of water[
There are many named varieties[
It takes 55 - 80 days for plants to reach maturity from sowing[
]. This is a very hardy plant, although knocked back, it has withstood temperatures down to about -14°c and can be cropped for most of the year[
]. It is much less likely to bolt from a spring sowing and is fairly resistant to summer heat[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. The flavour is a happy compromise between the blandness of cabbages and the sharpness of the oriental mustards[
]. The plant can be eaten at any stage from seedling to mature plant[
Flowering stems - raw or cooked[
]. Sweet and succulent, but becoming hotter as the plant matures[
Seed - sow in situ April to September[
]. Some varieties can also be sown in a cold greenhouse in late autumn, winter or early spring to provide leaves overwinter and in late spring.
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