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Brassica rapa - L.                
                 
Common Name Turnip, Field mustard, Toria, Yellow sarson
Family Brassicaceae or Cruciferae
Synonyms B. campestris rapa.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in the wild.
Range Derived in cultivation.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Brassica rapa is a BIENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Brassica rapa Turnip, Field mustard, Toria, Yellow sarson


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Miya
Brassica rapa Turnip, Field mustard, Toria, Yellow sarson
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pepre
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[1, 5]. 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[218]. Root - raw or cooked[1, 5, 16, 132]. 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[218].
Composition                                         
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)
  • 2300 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 30g; Fat: 4g; Carbohydrate: 54g; Fibre: 7g; Ash: 12g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 1600mg; Phosphorus: 1000mg; Iron: 17mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 4500mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 30mg; Riboflavin (B2): 2mg; Niacin: 8mg; B6: 0mg; C: 500mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Cancer;  Poultice.

A decoction of the leaves or stems is used in the treatment of cancer[218]. The powdered seed is said to be a folk remedy for cancer[269]. The crushed ripe seeds are used as a poultice on burns[222]. 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[269]. A salve derived from the flowers is said to help skin cancer[269].
Other Uses
Insecticide.

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[201].
Cultivation details                                         
Turnip is basically a cool climate crop that is resistant to frost and mild freezes[269]. The plants are very easily grown, provided they grow quickly when young and the soil is not allowed to dry out[264]. They succeed in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil[200]. Turnips grow best in deep, friable, highly fertile soil with pH 5.5 - 6.8[269]. They are said to prefer a light sandy soil, especially when grown for an early crop in the spring, and dislike a heavy soil[37, 269]. They prefer cool moist growing conditions[16]. 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[269]. Temperatures below 10°C cause the plants to run to seed, even if they have not yet formed an edible root[269]. 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[264]. Its short growing season makes turnips very adaptable as a catch crop[269]. 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[18, 20]. A good bee plant[108].
                                                                                 
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.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[5]Mabey. R. Food for Free.
Edible wild plants found in Britain. Fairly comprehensive, very few pictures and rather optimistic on the desirability of some of the plants.
[16]Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[37]Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant.
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
[108]International Bee Research Association. Garden Plants Valuable to Bees.
The title says it all.
[132]Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth.
Lovely pictures, a very readable book.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[264]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Vegetables
Excellent and easily read book with good information and an excellent collection of photos of vegetables from around the world, including many unusual species.
[269]Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of plants.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Tue Dec 28 18:58:09 2004
This plant is found in Malta/Mediterranean basin/Europe

More comprehensive details, medicinal properties, uses, botanical data, plant description and photogallery of high resolutions photos of this plant can be seen on an interesting website about the wild plants of Malta: www.maltawildplants.com

Link: Malta Wild Plants Website and photography by Stephen Mifsud, Malta

Elizabeth H.
Becky Bush Wed Nov 19 2008
We are growing Brassica Rapa seeds in our Biology Lab. Our group is taking Dwarf seeds and normal seeds and feeding with a 10% solution of sodium chloride gatorade, and red bull. Any thoughts or input would be greatly appreciated? Thank you Becky Bush
Elizabeth H.
Richard Mon Feb 16 2009
Becky, Gatorade contains potassium and might well aid growth, but also contains chlorides which may be directly linked to salt toxicity, Perhaps it might be interesting to add the gatorade and the red bull to seeds treated with salt, as the sugar in the drinks may well act as a compatible solute and negate the toxic uptake of sodium chloride.
Elizabeth H.
Richard Fri Feb 27 2009
this is confusing but i love it
Elizabeth H.
lilly Sun Apr 12 2009
i like pie plants r cool
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