Brassica rapa dichotoma
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 campestris dichotoma (Roxb.) G.Watt.
Brassica campestris toria Duthie & J.B.Fuller
Brassica napus dichotoma (Roxb.) Prain
Sinapis dichotoma Roxb.
Common Name: Indian Rape
Indian rape is a biennial plant developed in cultivation from Brassica rapa. Growing from a non-fleshy taproot, it forms a loose rosette of leaves and a flowering stem up to 100cm tall.
The plant has a long history of cultivation in India dating back to around 1,500 BCE. Of less importance nowadays, it is still sometimes cultivated, mainly in India and Nepal, for its oil-rich seeds[
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 cultivated form of Brassica rapa.
Not known in the wild.
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Indian rape arose in cultivation from forms of Brassica rapa and is cultivated as an annual crop from the warm temperate zone to the tropics of India.
Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil[
]. Prefers a light sandy soil and dislikes a heavy soil[
]. Prefers cool moist growing conditions[
]. Succeeds in any reasonable soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3.
Leaves - raw or cooked. A bit on the coarse side, though the young leaves can be added in moderation to salads whilst older leaves make an acceptable vegetable[
An edible oil is obtained from the seeds[
A semi-drying oil obtained from the seed can be used for lighting, soap making etc.
Seed - sow in situ in the spring.
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