Head cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata).—Derek Fell

Leafy garden plant (Brassica oleracea, variety capitata) of European origin, with a short stem and a globular head of usually green leaves. A member of the mustard family, it is a major table vegetable in most countries of the temperate zone. The term cabbage also refers more generally to a vegetable and fodder plant of various horticultural forms developed by long cultivation from the wild, or sea, cabbage (B. oleracea) found near the seacoast in England and continental Europe. The common forms may be classified by the plant parts used for food: leaves (e.g., kale, collard, common cabbage, Brussels sprout); flowers and flower stalks (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower); and stems (e.g., kohlrabi). Cabbages grow best in mild to cool climates and tolerate frost. Edible portions are low in caloric value and are an excellent source of vitamin C, minerals, and dietary fibre. See also Chinese cabbage.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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