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Uses

Edible uses

Notes

Leaves - raw or cooked[1][2]. The cooked leaves make an acceptable vegetable, though they are coarser than the related cabbage. They are more often used as a spring greens, sowing the plants in the autumn and allowing them t overwinter. Young leaves can also be added in small quantities to salads, they have a slightly hot cabbage-like flavour and some people find them indigestible[K]. A nutritional analysis is available[3]. Root - raw or cooked[1][2][4][5]. Often used as a cooked vegetable, the young roots can also be grated and eaten in salads, they have a slightly hot flavour like a mild radish. A nutritional analysis is available[3].

Leaves

Material uses

Turnip root peelings contain a natural insecticide. The chopped roots can be brewed into a tea with flaked soap, this is then strained before use. It is effective against aphids, red spider mites and flies[6].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

A decoction of the leaves or stems is used in the treatment of cancer[3].

The powdered seed is said to be a folk remedy for cancer[7]. The crushed ripe seeds are used as a poultice on burns[8]. Some caution should be exercised here since the seed of most brassicas is rubefacient[K]. The root when boiled with lard is used for breast tumours[7].

A salve derived from the flowers is said to help skin cancer[7].

Unknown part

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow in situ from early spring to late summer. The first sowing can be made under cloches in late winter and will be ready for use in early summer. The latest sowings for winter use can be made in mid to late summer.

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



Cultivation

Turnip is basically a cool climate crop that is resistant to frost and mild freezes[7]. The plants are very easily grown, provided they grow quickly when young and the soil is not allowed to dry out[9]. They succeed in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil[10]. Turnips grow best in deep, friable, highly fertile soil with pH 5.5 - 6.8[7]. They are said to prefer a light sandy soil, especially when grown for an early crop in the spring, and dislike a heavy soil[11][7]. They prefer cool moist growing conditions[4]. Turnips tolerate an annual precipitation of 35 to 410cm, an annual average temperature range of 3.6 to 27.4°C and a pH in the range of 4.2 to 7.8[7].

Temperatures below 10°C cause the plants to run to seed, even if they have not yet formed an edible root[7]. The turnip is often cultivated, both in the garden and commercially, for its edible root. A fast growing plant, it can take less than ten weeks from sowing to harvesting[9]. Its short growing season makes turnips very adaptable as a catch crop[7]. There are several named varieties and by careful selection and successional sowing it is possible to harvest roots all year round. The roots are fairly cold hardy and can be left in the ground during the winter, harvesting them as required. However, they can be troubled by slugs and other creatures so it is often better to harvest them in late autumn or early winter and store them in a cool but frost-free place. This species has long been cultivated as an edible plant and a large number of forms have been developed. Botanists have divided these forms into a number of groups, and these are detailed below. Separate entries in the database have been made for each group.

    B. rapa. The species was actually named for the cultivated garden turnip with its edible swollen tap root. This form is dealt with on this record.
    B. rapa campestris. This is the wild form of the species. It does not have a swollen root and is closest to the forms grown for their oil-rich seeds.
    B. rapa chinensis. Pak choi has long been cultivated in the Orient for its large tender edible leaves which are mainly produced in the summer and autumn.
    B. rapa dichotoma. Cultivated in the Orient mainly for its oil-rich seeds.
    B. rapa narinosa. Chinese savoy is another Oriental form. It is grown for its edible leaves.
    B. rapa nipposinica. Mizuna is a fast-growing cold-hardy form with tender edible leaves that can be produced all year round.
    B. rapa oleifera. The stubble turnip has a swollen edible root, though it is considered too coarse for human consumption and is grown mainly for fodder and as a green manure. It is also cultivated for its oil-rich seeds.
    B. rapa parachinensis. False pak choi is very similar to B. rapa chinensis with tender edible leaves, though it is considerably more cold-hardy.
    B. rapa pekinensis. Chinese cabbages are widely grown in the Orient. The large tender leaves often form a cabbage-like head.
    B. rapa perviridis. Spinach mustard is grown for its edible leaves. A very cold-hardy plant, and also able to withstand summer heat, it can provide a crop all year round.
    B. rapa trilocularis. Indian colza is mainly grown for its oil-rich seeds.

Grows well with peas but dislikes growing with hedge mustard and knotweed[12][13].

A good bee plant[14].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Brassica rapa. 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 rapa.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Brassica rapa
Genus
Brassica
Family
Brassicaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
?
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    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.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.2 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.12.2 Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (1974-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.23.33.4 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.2 Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (1977-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth. ()
    6. ? 6.06.1 Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.47.57.67.77.87.9 Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Vegetables Macmillan Reference Books, London. ISBN 0 333 62640 0 (1995-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    11. ? Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
    12. ? Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
    13. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
    14. ? International Bee Research Association. Garden Plants Valuable to Bees. International Bee Research Association. (1981-00-00)

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