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Hardy biennial plant in the mustard family, cultivated for its fleshy roots and tender leaves. There are two species, the turnip proper (Brassica rapa) and the Swedish turnip, or rutabaga. The true turnip probably originated in middle and eastern Asia and spread by cultivation throughout the temperate zone. Both species are cool-season crops. Turnips develop rapidly enough to have an early-spring or late-summer seeding produce a crop before, respectively, extremes of summer or late-fall weather occur.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on turnip, visit Britannica.com.