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Overview

Brief Summary

Brassica rapa, field mustard, is an herbaceous annual or biennial species in the Brassicaceae (the cabbage or mustard family) from which various interrelated vegetable varieties have been developed, including turnips, bok choi, pak choi, tat soi (which are sometimes referred to as Chinese cabbages, or Chinese white- or Chinese flat cabbages, or celery mustard), pak choi sum (Chinese flowering cabbage), and napa cabbage (also called celery cabbage or pe tsai), among others. The species is thought to have originated in Europe, with many varieties developed in Asia, but its numerous varieties are now widely cultivated commercially and in home gardens in temperate and north temperate regions throughout the world. Some varieties have become naturalized and are considered weeds in regions of China and North America.

B. rapa, formerly known as B. campestris, shows considerable variation in growth form and characteristics across the many cultivars, this species has, in general, a flat or globose root (in the case of turnips) without an elongated crown (as found in the rutabagas and kohlrabi, which are derived from B. olearacea), with stems that grow typically grow 30 to 120 cm (11.75 to 47.25 in), although in some cultivars up to 190 cm (75 in) tall. The leaves are large, soft, smooth or soft-hairy leaves, up to 50 cm (20 in) long, pinnatifid (deeply lobed) or lyrate (deeply lobed, but with an enlarged terminal lobe and smaller lateral lobes), which clasp the stem and may form a more or less dense head. The yellow, four-parted and cross-shaped flowers are small, usually less than 2 cm (0.75 in) long, and produce siliques—capsular fruit that dehisces (splits open) when mature—that may be up to 6 cm (2.5 in) long.

With a long history of cultivation and diversification into many varieties with numerous and overlapping common names, it can be difficult to ascertain and classify the relationships among species and varieties (or subspecies). Varieties of B. rapa are generally placed into 4 major categories:

1) var. chinensis, which includes pak choi, bok choi, and tat soi, cultivars that originated in southeast Asia and have long been cultivated in China and Japan, where they are also widely naturalized. These form compact clusters of stems that are not as densely packed as in cabbage heads. The whole young plants are used for their leafy greens and fleshy green or white stems, either salted and fermented into a pickle known as pak choi can, or cooked in soups, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.

2) var. parachinensis, Chinese flowering cabbage (sometimes called Chinese broccoli, although that name generally refers to the related B. olearacea var. alboglabra), which has elongated fleshy stems and flowering shoots that do not form into tight clusters or heads. The flowering stems, along with their leaves and buds, are pickled or prepared as a cooked vegetable in numerous Asian dishes.

3) var. pekinensis, napa or celery cabbage (sometimes known as Peking cabbage or pe tsai), which may either have a dense head of flat-stemmed leaves, or may form simply a loose cluster of fleshy stemmed leaves. These varieties have a long history of cultivation in China, Japan, and Korea, where they are used in salads, soups, and as a cooked vegetable. This variety is commonly used to make the traditional Korean fermented cabbage dish, kimchee.

4) var. rapa, turnips, which have a fleshy, globe-shaped root. Described in Roman accounts dating to 400 B.C., they are one of the oldest cultivated root crops, and are still widely used in Europe, prepared raw or cooked in soups, stews, and sautés. The young leaves are also used as cooked greens.

(Bailey et al. 1976, Flora of China 2012, Hedrick 1919, van Wyk 2005.)

  • Bailey, L.H., E.Z. Bailey, and the L.H. Bailey Hortatorium. 1976. Hortus Third: A concise dictionary of plants cultivated in the United States and Canada. New York: Macmillan. p. 179.
  • Flora of China. 2012. 2. Brassica rapa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 666. 1753. Flora of China vol 8. Accessed 21 June 2012 from http://efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200009273.
  • Hedrick, U.P., ed. 1919. Sturtevant’s Notes on Edible Plants. State of New York. Dept of Agriculture. 27th annual report, vol. 2, part II. Albany, NY: J.B. Lyon Co. p. 100–120.
  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. Brassica rapa., several varieties. Food Plants of the World: An Illustrated Guide. Portland, OR: Timber Press. p. 107–110.
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Comprehensive Description

Comments

This is another weedy mustard species from Eurasia. It should not be confused with the agricultural crop, Oilseed Rape (or Canola), which is Brassica napus oleifera, or one of the cultivated vegetables. Rape Mustard has several common names, including Field Mustard and Birdseed Rape. In general, Rape Mustard can be distinguished from other Brassica spp. (Mustards) by its glaucous gray-blue or gray-green foliage and its clasping alternate leaves. A similar species, Brassica oleracea (Wild Cabbage), shares these characteristics, but this latter species has larger flowers (exceeding ½" across) and it is quite rare in Illinois. Oilseed Rape has foliage that is more green than either Rape Mustard or Wild Cabbage, and its foliage isn't glaucous.
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Description

This non-native plant is an annual or biennial about 1-3' tall. Small plants are branched sparingly, while large plants branch abundantly in the upper half. The stems are gray-green or gray-blue, terete, glabrous, and glaucous. Plants that begin growth during the fall will overwinter as low rosettes with basal leaves, while plants that begin growth during the spring bolt upward almost immediately. Both the basal and lower leaves are up to 10" long and 2" across, but they are usually smaller than this. They are oblanceolate in overall shape and strongly pinnatifid with undulate or bluntly dentate margins; their terminal lobes are the largest in size. Both types of leaves have stout petioles. In contrast, the middle to upper leaves are smaller in size, lanceolate-oblong in shape, with margins that are smooth or bluntly dentate. These latter leaves have bases that usually clasp their stems, although some of them may be sessile. Like the stems, these various leaves are grey-green or blue-green, glaucous, and usually glabrous – occasionally the basal leaves have short bristly hairs. The lower, middle, and upper leaves are alternate. The upper stems terminate in racemes of bright yellow flowers. The flowers bloom toward the apex of each raceme, while the seedpods develop below. Each flower is 1/3–1/2" across, consisting of 4 yellow petals, 4 green to yellow sepals, several stamens, and a pistil with a single style. The sepals are narrowly lanceolate and hairless. The blooming period can occur anytime between late spring to early fall; it usually lasts about 1 month for a small colony of plants. Each flower is replaced by an ascending cylindrical seedpod (silique) that is 1¼–2¼" long at maturity and hairless. Each seedpod terminates in a seedless beak that is about one-fourth its entire length. At the base of each seedpod, there is a stout hairless pedicel about ½" long that is widely spreading to ascending. Each seedpod divides into 2 valves to release its small globoid seeds. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant reproduces by reseeding itself.
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Miscellaneous Details

Notes: Cultivated
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Rape Mustard is occasional in most areas of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It is native to Eurasia. Typical habitats include cropland, weedy fields, roadsides, gravelly areas along railroads, and waste areas. This plant is usually found in areas with a history of disturbance where there is scant ground vegetation.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Maharashtra: Kolhapur
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Distribution in Egypt

Nile region, oases and Mediterranean region.

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Global Distribution

Cultivated Worldwide for its fleshy root , the Turnip escaping as a weed.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Herbs annual or biennial, 30-120(-190) cm tall, glabrous or sparsely pubescent basally, rarely glaucous, sometimes with fleshy taproots. Stems erect, simple or branched above. Basal and lowermost cauline leaves petiolate, not rosulate or obscurely to strongly rosulate and forming a compact, oblong head; petiole (1-)2-10(-17) cm, slender or thickened and fleshy, sometimes strongly winged; leaf blade ovate, oblong, or lanceolate in outline, (5-)10-40(-60) × 3-10(-20) cm, margin entire, repand, dentate, or sinuate, sometimes pinnatifid or pinnatisect and with a large terminal lobe and smaller, 1-6, oblong or ovate lateral lobes on each side of midvein. Upper cauline leaves sessile, ovate, oblong, or lanceolate, 2-8(-12) × 0.8-3 cm, base amplexicaul, deeply cordate, or auriculate, margin entire or repand. Fruiting pedicels, straight, ascending or divaricate, (0.5-)1-2.5(-3) cm. Sepals oblong, (3-)4-6.5(-8) × 1.5-2 mm, ascending. Petals bright yellow, rarely pale or whitish yellow, 7-10(-13) × (2.5-)3-6(-7) mm, obovate, apex rounded. Filaments 4-6(-7) mm; anthers oblong, 1.5-2 mm. Fruit linear, (2-)3-8(-11) cm × 2-4(-5) mm, terete, sessile, divaricate or ascending; valvular segment (1.3-)2-5(-7.5) cm, 8-15-seeded per locule, valves with a prominent midvein; terminal segment conical, (0.3-)1-2.5(-3.5) cm, seedless or rarely 1-seeded; style obsolete. Seeds dark or reddish brown, globose, 1-1.8 mm in diam., minutely reticulate. Fl. Mar-Jun, fr. Apr-Jul. 2n = 20*.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Herb
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Rape Mustard is occasional in most areas of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It is native to Eurasia. Typical habitats include cropland, weedy fields, roadsides, gravelly areas along railroads, and waste areas. This plant is usually found in areas with a history of disturbance where there is scant ground vegetation.
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Escape from cultivation.

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Habitat & Distribution

Cultivated. Throughout China [widely cultivated and naturalized elsewhere].
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Associations

Faunal Associations

The nectar of the flowers attracts small bees and White butterflies (Pieridae); some bees may collect pollen from the flowers as well. The caterpillars of the butterflies Pieris napi (Mustard White), Pieris rapae (Cabbage White), and Pontia protodice (Checkered White) feed on Brassica spp. (Mustards), as do the caterpillars of the moths Evergestis pallidata (Purple-Backed Cabbageworm), Plutella xylostella (Diamondback Moth), and Eustixia pupula (Pyralid Moth sp.). Several species of flea beetles (primarily Phyllotreta spp.), Murgantia histrionica (Harlequin Bug), and Adelphocoris superbus (Meadow Plant Bug) also feed on the foliage of these plants. The oily seeds of Rape Mustard and similar species are eaten by the Mourning Dove and Ring-Necked Pheasant, and the mild-tasting foliage can be eaten in limited amounts by livestock and other mammalian herbivores.
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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
colony of Albugo candida parasitises live, discoloured, distorted leaf of Brassica rapa
Remarks: season: spring, early autumn
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
amphigenous colony of Alternaria dematiaceous anamorph of Alternaria brassicae causes spots on live leaf of Brassica rapa

Foodplant / open feeder
gregarious larva of Athalia rosae grazes on leaf (underside) of Brassica rapa
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / gall
larva of Ceutorhynchus assimilis causes gall of live root of Brassica rapa
Remarks: season: 3-

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Delia radicum feeds within live root of Brassica rapa

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Erwinia carotovora infects and damages root of Brassica rapa
Other: major host/prey

Animal / pathogen
Rhizoctonia anamorph of Helicobasidium purpureum infects root of Brassica rapa
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Helophorus porculus feeds on Brassica rapa

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Helophorus rufipes feeds on Brassica rapa

Foodplant / spot causer
pycnidium of Phoma coelomycetous anamorph of Leptosphaeria maculans causes spots on live cotyledon of seedling of Brassica rapa

Foodplant / spot causer
colony of Pseudocercosporella anamorph of Mycosphaerella capsellae causes spots on live leaf of Brassica rapa

Foodplant / gall
Plasmodiophora brassicae causes gall of swollen, distorted, often fused root of Brassica rapa
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
amphigenous Pseudocercosporella anamorph of Pseudocercosporella brassicae causes spots on live leaf of Brassica rapa
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
Radish Mosaic virus causes spots on live, crinkled leaf of Brassica rapa

Foodplant / spot causer
amphigenous colony of Ramularia hyphomycetous anamorph of Ramularia armoraciae causes spots on live leaf of Brassica rapa

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Streptomyces infects and damages live twig of Brassica rapa

Foodplant / pathogen
Turnip Crinkle virus infects and damages live, crinkled, mottled leaf of Brassica rapa

Foodplant / pathogen
Turnip Mosaic virus infects and damages live, crinkled, stunted leaf (young) of Brassica rapa

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Annual or biennial herb.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Brassica rapa

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Brassica rapa

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 13
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Management

These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

Rape Mustard prefers full sunlight, moist to dry conditions, and a neutral to alkaline soil containing loam, clay-loam, or gravelly material. The size of individual plants varies greatly according to moisture conditions and soil fertility.
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Wikipedia

Brassica rapa

Brassica rapa L. is a plant consisting of various widely cultivated subspecies including the turnip (a root vegetable); the mizuna, napa cabbage, and cime di rapa (leaf vegetables); and turnip rape (Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera, an oilseed which has many common names, including [annual] turnip rape, canola, field mustard, bird rape, keblock, and colza).[1][2][3][4][5][6] The oilseed is sometimes confused with rapeseed oil, which however comes from a different Brassica species.

In the 18th century the turnip and the oilseed-producing variants were seen as being different species by Carolus Linnaeus who named them B. rapa and B. campestris. 20th-century taxonomists found that the plants were cross fertile and thus belonged to the same species. Since the turnip had been named first by Linnaeus, the name Brassica rapa was adopted.[7]

The oilseeds known as canola are sometimes particular varieties of Brassica rapa (termed Polish Canola) but mostly related species Brassica napus and Brassica juncea.[8]

Many butterflies, including small white pollinate the B. rapa flowers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brassica rapa L. subsp. oleifera (DC.) Metzg.". GRIN Taxonomy for Plants. Germplasm Resources Information Network. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera". Turnip Rape. EOL. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Clive Stace (1997). New Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-58935-2. 
  4. ^ Bailey's Dictionary (5th reprint ed.). 1731. 
  5. ^ Doreathea Hurst (1889). History and Antiquities Of Horsham. Farncombe & Co. 
  6. ^ "Brassica rapa". Bioimages. cas.vanderbilt.edu. 2011. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  7. ^ Phil Thomas(editor) (2003). Chapter 2. "Canola Varieties". Canola Growers Manual. Canola Council of Canada. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Chapter 2 - Canola Varieties". Canola Grower's Manual. Canada Council of Canada. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
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Notes

Comments

Both Brassica campestris and B. rapa were simultaneously described by Linnaeus (Sp. Pl. 2: 666. 1753). Johann Metzger (Systematische Beschreibung der kultivirten Kohlarten. 68 pp. Heidelberg. 1833), who was the first to unite the two species, adopted B. rapa for the combined species, and therefore this name has priority (St. Louis Code, Art. 11.5). Except for being an annual with nonfleshy taproots, B. campestris is absolutely indistinguishable from the biennial B. rapa with fleshy taproots. In fact, plants of B. rapa that escape from cultivation fail to produce fleshy roots. Therefore, B. campestris deserves no higher than a varietal rank of B. rapa, and it is here reduced to synonymy under var. oleifera.

Forms with 3- or 4-valved fruit have been recognized as Brassica trilocularis Roxburgh and B. quadrivalvis J. D. Hooker & Thomson, respectively. They were treated by Jafri (Fl. W. Pakistan 55: 24. 1973) as subspecies of B. napus, but both have 2n = 20, and therefore they should be recognized as a variety of B. rapa. Of the six varieties recognized in B. rapa, the following four are grown and naturalized in China.

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