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Toxic parts

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.

Edible uses


Leaves - raw or cooked[1][2][3]. Added to salads or used as a potherb[4].

Immature flowering stems - cooked in much the same way as broccoli[4]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed, it is used mainly for cooking purposes, but also for salads[1][5][2][6][4]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. The sprouted seed is often used as the mustard part of mustard and cress. Eaten in salads[1][2][3][4].

The seed is used as a mustard flavouring[4].


Unknown part


Material uses

The seed contains up to 45% of an edible semi-drying oil, it is used as a luminant, lubricant, in soap making etc[5][7][8][9].

Unknown part


Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The root is emollient and diuretic[10]. The juice of the roots is used in the treatment of chronic coughs and bronchial catarrh[10][11].

The seed, powdered, with salt is said to be a folk remedy for cancer[11].

Rape oil is used in massage and oil baths, it is believed to strengthen the skin and keep it cool and healthy. With camphor it is applied as a remedy for rheumatism and stiff joints[11].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow spring in situ.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Brassica napus pabularia. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil[12]. Succeeds in any reasonable soil[13]. Prefers a heavy soil and cool moist conditions[14][15]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.2 to 8.3.

Very young plants are susceptible to cold damage, -4°C either killing or injuring seedlings, whereas -2°C has no affect when the plants are more than one month old[11]. The rape kales have non-tuberous roots. They are cultivated for their edible leaves. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and so should not be transplanted[12]. Rape kale is 70% self-pollinating and 30% cross-pollinated. Even if wind and insects are absent, seed are still produced. Yield increases with honeybees[11]. The growth of this plant is inhibited by field mustard and hedge mustard growing nearby[16][15].

This species is closely related to B. rapa[12].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Brassica napus pabularia. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Brassica napus pabularia.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Brassica napus pabularia
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? Harrison. S. Wallis. M. Masefield. G. The Oxford Book of Food Plants. Oxford University Press (1975-00-00)
    3. ? Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
    4. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    5. ? Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
    9. ? 9.09.1 Brouk. B. Plants Consumed by Man. Academic Press ISBN 0-12-136450-x (1975-00-00)
    10. ? Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    11. ? Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
    12. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    13. ? Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round. Hamlyn (1980-00-00)
    14. ? Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (1977-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
    16. ? Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)

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