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Edible uses


Leaves - raw or cooked[1][2][3]. A crisp, watery texture with a naturally sweet taste, it is best eaten raw in salads[1][4]. The plant can be eaten as a young seedling, or left to grow into a mature plant[4]. The flavour is quickly ruined by prolonged cooking[4]. Leaves can also be dried for winter use[4]. The heads of mature plants can be 50cm long and weigh up to 4.5 kg[5][4]. Fresh leaves do not store well and are best used within a day or two of harvesting[4]. A nutritional analysis is available[6]. Flowering shoots - raw or cooked[4]. Sweet and tender[7].



Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Brassica rapa pekinensis.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The leaves are depurative[6].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - it can be sown from late May to September in situ[4]. The spring sown crops often run to seed very quickly but 'barrel' types can be sown at this time. If seedlings are germinated at a temperature of 18 - 20°c and then grown on at this temperature for their first few weeks, they are then less likely to bolt[4]. Seed usually germinates within 3 - 4 days[4]. A late summer sowing under protection can provide leaves in the winter[4]. Seedlings can be transplanted when about 3 - 4 weeks old[4].

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


Succeeds in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil[8][9][5]. Succeeds in acid and alkaline soils[10][5]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7[4]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 6.8. Prefers a heavy soil[8] and grows badly in sandy ones[5]. Prefers full sun[5][4] and a sheltered position[4]. Likes some shade[8]. Drought resistant according to one report[2], whilst another says that the plants are shallow-rooted and have very little resistance to drought[4]. They require about 5 gallons of water from sowing to maturity[4].

Plants are not fully winter hardy in Britain, though mature plants withstand light frosts to about -3°c[2][4]. Plants prefer coolish weather during their growing season, a temperature range of 13 - 20°c is ideal[4]. The Chinese cabbage is widely cultivated, especially in China and Japan, for its edible leaves[11]. It looks like a large cos lettuce or cabbage and has a crisp, watery texture with a mustard-like taste[12]. There are many named varieties[11][4]. Those forms with loose heads were developed for areas with hotter summers, whilst compact-headed forms were developed for cooler areas[4]. The loose-headed forms are less prone to bolt, are more resistant to cold and are more disease-resistant[4]. An annual to biennial species, it is normally grown as an annual[4]. Plants take from 55 - 100 days from sowing to maturity, depending on variety, the loose-headed forms are usually 2 - 3 weeks faster than compact-headed forms[4]. Plants do not like root disturbance so should not be transplanted unless grown in individual pots[4]. Plants are highly resistant to fungus attacks and the cabbage moth[2], they are also slow to bolt in hot weather[2]. Some cultivars are more resistant to bolting when sown in spring than other forms[4]. There is some evidence that interplanting this species with dill and garlic can lessen the attacks of caterpillars[4].

A good bee plant[13].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Brassica rapa pekinensis. 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 pekinensis.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Brassica rapa pekinensis
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. ? Brooklyn Botanic Garden Oriental Herbs and Vegetables, Vol 39 No. 2. Brooklyn Botanic Garden (1986-00-00)
    2. ? Natural Food Institute, Wonder Crops. 1987. ()
    3. ? 3.03.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    4. ? Larkcom J. Oriental Vegetables John Murray ISBN 0-7195-4781-4 (1991-00-00)
    5. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    6. ? Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 1. Thompson and Morgan. (1987-00-00)
    8. ? Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (1977-00-00)
    9. ? Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round. Hamlyn (1980-00-00)
    10. ? Taylor. J. The Milder Garden. Dent (1990-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 RHS. The Garden. Volume 112. Royal Horticultural Society (1987-00-00)
    12. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Vegetables Macmillan Reference Books, London. ISBN 0 333 62640 0 (1995-00-00)
    13. ? International Bee Research Association. Garden Plants Valuable to Bees. International Bee Research Association. (1981-00-00)