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Rape (Brassica napus)—Ingmar Holmasen
Annual plant (Brassica napus) of the mustard family, native to Europe. This 1-ft-tall (30-cm) plant has a long, thin taproot; smooth, bluish-green, deeply scalloped leaves; and clusters of yellow flowers. Each round, elongated seedpod has a short beak and contains many seeds. The seeds yield an oil (rapeseed oil, or canola) that is the lowest in saturated fat of any edible oil, making it popular for use in cooking. It is also used as an ingredient in soap and margarine and as a lamp fuel.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on rape, visit Britannica.com.