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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 7 | Brassicaceae

17. Brassica Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 666. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 299. 1754.

Cabbage, cole, mustard, turnip [Latin name for cabbage]

Suzanne I. Warwick

Annuals, biennials, or, rarely, perennials; not scapose; glabrous, glabrescent, or pubescent. Stems erect, unbranched or branched distally. Leaves basal and cauline; petiolate or sessile; basal (persistent in B. tournefortii), rosulate or not, petiolate, blade margins entire, dentate, or lyrate-pinnatifid; cauline petiolate or sessile, blade (base sometimes auriculate or amplexicaul), margins entire, dentate, lobed, or sinuate-serrate. Racemes (corymbose), considerably elongated in fruit. Fruiting pedicels erect, spreading, ascending or divaricately-ascending, often slender. Flowers: sepals usually erect or ascending, rarely spreading, oblong [ovate], lateral pair usually saccate basally; petals yellow to orange-yellow [rarely white], obovate, ovate, elliptic, or oblanceolate, claw often differentiated from blade, (sometimes attenuate basally, apex rounded or emarginate); stamens tetradynamous; filaments slender; anthers oblong or ovate, (apex obtuse); nectar glands confluent or not, median glands present. Fruits siliques, dehiscent, sessile or stipitate, segments 2, linear, torulose or smooth, terete, 4-angled, or latiseptate; (terminal segment seedless or 1-3-seeded, usually filiform or conic, rarely cylindrical); valves each prominently 1-veined, glabrous; replum rounded; septum complete; ovules [4-]10-50 per ovary; stigma entire or 2-lobed. Seeds uniseriate, plump, not winged, globose; seed coat (reticulate or reticulate-alveolate), mucilaginous or not when wetted; cotyledons conduplicate. x = 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

Species 35 (8 in the flora): introduced; sw Europe, sw Asia, e, nw Africa; introduced also in Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, Atlantic Islands, Pacific Islands (New Zealand), Australia.

SELECTED REFERENCES Diederichsen, A. 2001. Brassica. In: P. Hanelt, ed. 2001. Mansfeld’s Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops…. 6 vols. Berlin and New York. Vol. 3, pp. 1435-1465. Gómez-Campo, C. 1999. Taxonomy. In: C. Gómez-Campo, ed. 1999b. Biology of Brassica Coenospecies. Amsterdam. Pp. 3-32. Prakash, S. and K. Hinata. 1980. Taxonomy, cytogenetics and origin of crop brassicas, a review. Opera Bot. 55: 1-57. Snogerup, S., M. Gustafsson, and R. von Bothmer. 1990. Brassica sect. Brassica (Brassicaceae). 1. Taxonomy and variation. Willdenowia 19: 271-365.

1 Cauline leaves sessile, blade bases auriculate and/or amplexicaul   (2)
+ Cauline leaves petiolate or sessile, blade bases tapered, not auriculate or amplexicaul   (4)
2 (1) Biennials or perennials; petals (15-)18-25(-30) mm; terminal segments of fruits (3-)4-11 mm.   6 Brassica oleracea
+ Annuals or biennials; petals 6-16 mm; terminal segments of fruits (5-)8-22 mm   (3)
3 (2) Flowers usually not overtopping buds, rarely at same level, when open; petals pale yellow, 10-16 mm; terminal segments of fruits (5-)9-16 mm.   4 Brassica napus
+ Flowers overtopping or equaling buds when open; petals deep yellow, 6-11(-13) mm; terminal segments of fruits 8-22 mm.   7 Brassica rapa
4 (1) Fruits and pedicels erect, ± appressed to rachises; fruits 10-25(-27) mm, not torulose; fruiting pedicels (2-)3-5(-6) mm.   5 Brassica nigra
+ Fruits and pedicels spreading to ascending, not appressed to rachises; fruits often 2 cm+, torulose; fruiting pedicels (6-)8-20 mm   (5)
5 (4) Fruits stipitate, gynophores 1.5-4(-5) mm, terminal segments 0.5-2.5(-3) mm; basal leaf blade margins entire or dentate.   1 Brassica elongata
+ Fruits sessile or stipitate, gynophores to 1 mm, terminal segments (4-)5-20 mm; basal leaf blade margins lyrate to pinnatisect, or pinnatifid to pinnately lobed   (6)
6 (5) Basal leaves persistent, blades with 4-10 lobes each side, surfaces hirsute; petals 4-7 × 1.5-2(-2.5) mm.   8 Brassica tournefortii
+ Basal leaves deciduous, blades with 1-3 (or 4) lobes each side, surfaces glabrous or nearly so; petals (7-)9-13 × 3-7.5 mm   (7)
7 (6) Fruits stipitate (gynophore 1-1.5 mm), 1.5-3 cm × 1.5-2 mm, terminal segment 3-6 mm.   2 Brassica fruticulosa
+ Fruits sessile, (2-)3-5(-6) cm × 2-5 mm, terminal segment (4-)5-10 (-15) mm.   3 Brassica juncea

Lower Taxa


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