Brassica oleracea

Brassica oleracea L. (Medit., W-Eur.) – A rather rare escape from or relic of cultivation, always ephemeral. Sometimes seen on dumps, in road verges, etc. Largely neglected by botanists.

The wild plant (subsp. oleracea) occurs on sea-cliffs in neighboring areas (northern France and recently also seen in the Netherlands; see van der Meijden 2005, Tison & de Foucault 2014). So far, it has not been recorded in Belgium. Cultivated plants belong to a wide range of races (see Lambinon & Verloove 2012 for an overview).

Selected literature:

Aguinagalde I. (1992) A chemosystematic survey on wild relatives of Brassica oleracea L. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 109: 57-67.

Cheung W.Y., Champagne G., Hubert N. & Landry B.S. (1997) Comparison of the genetic maps of Brassica napus and Brassica oleracea. Theor. Appl. Genet. 94(5): 569-582. [available online at:

Gray A.R. (1982) Taxonomy and evolution of Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italic). Econ. Bot. 36: 397-410. 

Gustafsson M. & Lanner-Herrera C. (1997) Overview of the Brassica oleracea complex: their distribution and ecological specifities. Bocconea 7: 27-37. [available online at:]

Helm J. (1959) Über den Typus einiger von Linné aufgestellter, nicht kopfbildender Sippen von Brassica oleracea L. Feddes Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 62: 44-59. 

Helm J. (1962) Die laciniaten Sippen von Brassica oleracea L. Kulturpflanze 10: 111-121. 

Helm J. (1963) Morphologisch-taxonomische Gliederung der Kultursippen von Brassica oleracea L. Kulturpflanze 11: 92-210.

Lambinon J. & Verloove F. (2012) Nouvelle Flore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des Régions voisines (Ptéridophytes et Spermatophytes). Sixième édition. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise: CXXXIX + 1195 p.

Oost E.H. (1989) Typification of Brassica oleracea L. (Cruciferae) and its Linnean varieties. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 101: 329-345.

Rich T.C.G. (1988) Brassica rapa L./B. napus L./B. oleracea L. Plant Crib 1988: 23-24.

Snogerup S. (1979) Experimental and cytological studies of the Brassica oleracea group. Webbia 34: 357-362. 

Snogerup S. (1980) The wild forms of the Brassica oleracea group (2n=18) and their possible relation to the cultivated ones. Brassica Crops and Wild Allies: Biology and Breeding: 121-132.

Snogerup S. (1990) Brassica sect. Brassica (Brassicaceae). 1. Taxonomy and variation. Willdenowia 19: 271-365.

Stork A.L. (1980) Seed characters in Brassica section Brassica and some related groups. Candollea 35: 421-450.

Tison J.-M. & de Foucault B. (coord.) (2014) Flora Gallica. Flore de France. Editions Biotope, Mèze : xx + 1196 p.

Van der Meijden R. (2005) Heukels’ Flora van Nederland (23e druk). Wolters-Noordhoff, Groningen: 685 p.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith