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BRASSICA napus var. napobrassica

Image of Brassica napus var. napobrassica

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

BRASSICA napus var. napobrassica

Plant Common Name

Rutabaga, Swede , Swedish Turnip

General Description

Long grown as animal fodder and for its edible rootstock, this biennial vegetable probably originated as a hybrid between turnip (Brassica rapa) and wild cabbage (B. oleracea). The large, swollen, succulent "root" is purple, yellow or white with yellowish flesh. It actually comprises the hypocotyl (the portion of the embryonic plant between the root and the seedling leaves) and the base of the stem. Plants produce a rosette of large, bluish, deeply lobed leaves that are fleshy and cabbage-like. The protein-rich leaves make excellent cattle forage. Young leaves are good for cooking. Erect, branching clusters of light yellow flowers appear in summer, or in spring on overwintering plants. Rattlebox seed capsules follow, opening to scatter many reddish-brown to black seeds.

This cool-weather crop prefers full sun and moderately fertile, humus-rich, slightly acid soil with ample drainage. Rutabaga cultivars generally mature 90 to 120 days from planting. Young leaves for cooking may be harvested much earlier. Sow them in late spring or early summer for harvesting in fall after frost. Seeds germinate poorly in cold soil. In areas with mild climates they can be sown in fall for a winter crop. Hot weather or prolonged chilly spells may cause them to flower ("bolt"), which usually results in bitter-tasting, dwindling plants. Rutabaga plants will take a good deal of frost. They are not heavy feeders and may not need fertilizer if grown in rotation with nitrogen-fixing legumes. Use rutabagas in hardy root vegetable mashes. The "roots" will keep for months if stored in a cold, slightly moist medium such as sand or sawdust.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 3

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    1'-4' / 0.3m - 1.2m

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Light Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Blue Green, Black

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes