Friday, September 13, 2013

Hail, Brassica

Jason Kottke recently expressed his amazement and appreciation for the plant known as Brassica oleracea:

Brassica oleracea is a species of plant that, like the apple, has a number of different cultivars. But these cultivars differ widely from each other: cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, collard greens, and cauliflower. Nutty that all those vegetables come from the same species of plant.
Better known as the cruciferous vegetables. Not to mention canola (rapeseed), bok choi, mustard greens, turnips, and rutabaga. But here are two other Brassica facts to curl Jason's hair:
  • Another family member, known as Camelina or Pennycress, shows strong promise as an oil fuel plant. It's an annual weed, which could be grown in the same fields with food crops without displacing them, and whose seeds are as much as 40 percent oil.
  • All of the varieties of Brassica would revert to the undistinguished, nontasty ancestor plant within 10 years without human maintenance of the seed stock.
So appreciate those Brassica varieties while you can, including roasted brussels sprouts.