Brassica rapa

Brassica rapa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. rapa
Binomial name
Brassica rapa

Brassica rapa L. is a plant consisting of various widely cultivated subspecies including the turnip (a root vegetable); the mizuna, napa cabbage, bok choy, and cime di rapa (leaf vegetables); and (Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera, an oilseed which has many common names, including field mustard, bird rape, keblock, and colza).[1][2][3][4][5][6]

The oil made from the seed is sometimes also called canola,[1] which is one reason why it is sometimes confused with rapeseed oil, but this comes from a different Brassica species (Brassica napus). The oilseeds known as canola are sometimes particular varieties of Brassica rapa (termed Polish Canola) but usually the related species Brassica napus (rapeseed) and Brassica juncea (mustard greens).[7]

In the 18th century the turnip and the oilseed-producing variants were seen as being different species by Carl Linnaeus who named them B. rapa and B. campestris. 20th-century taxonomists found that the plants were cross fertile and thus belonged to the same species. Since the turnip had been named first by Linnaeus, the name Brassica rapa was adopted.[8]

Many butterflies, including the small white pollinate the B. rapa flowers.


Cultivar Image Name
Napa cabbage Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis
Bok choy Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis
Rapini Brassica rapa var. rapifera
Mizuna Brassica rapa subsp. nipposinica
Komatsuna Brassica rapa subsp. perviridis
Tatsoi Brassica rapa subsp. narinosa
Turnip Brassica rapa subsp. rapa
Field Mustard Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera
Yellow Sarson Brassica rapa subsp. trilocularis
Choy sum Brassica rapa subsp. parachinensis


  1. 1 2 "Brassica rapa L. subsp. oleifera (DC.) Metzg.". GRIN Taxonomy for Plants. Germplasm Resources Information Network. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  2. "Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera". Turnip Rape. EOL. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  3. Clive Stace (1997). New Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-58935-2.
  4. Bailey's Dictionary (5th reprint ed.). 1731.
  5. Doreathea Hurst (1889). History and Antiquities Of Horsham. Farncombe & Co.
  6. "Brassica rapa". Bioimages. 2011. Retrieved 2010-06-10.
  7. "Chapter 2 – Canola Varieties". Canola Grower's Manual. Canada Council of Canada. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  8. Phil Thomas, ed. (2003). "Canola Varieties". Canola Growers Manual. Canola Council of Canada.
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