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BRASSICA rapa (Narinosa Group)

Image of Brassica rapa (Narinosa Group)

James H. Schutte

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

BRASSICA rapa( Narinosa Group)

Plant Common Name

Tat Soi, Tatsoi

General Description

The Narinosa group of Brassica rapa is commonly referred to as tatsoi (tat soi), also known as flat pac choy. This delicious leafy vegetable forms compact, flat clusters of spoon-shaped leaves with thick leaf stalks. It matures quickly, 21 days for baby greens and 45 days for full heads, and has a fresh, crisp flavor and texture. It is one of several Brassica rapa types which are Eurasian in origin but now cultivated worldwide.

This cool-season, biennial vegetable forms tight rosettes of dark green leaves with lighter stalks and midribs. It can be harvested young for baby greens or allowed to mature into fully formed, flat heads. It is usually harvested before it can flower but if left to its own devices will produce tall sprays of bright yellow flowers in spring or summer of its second year. Rattlebox seed capsules follow, which open to scatter many reddish-brown to black seeds.

Grow tatsoi when temperatures are cool and pleasant. It grows best in full sun and moderately fertile, slightly acid soil with ample drainage. Sow seeds in early spring before temperatures heat up or in late summer for fall harvest. It makes an excellent winter crop in subtropical areas with cool winters. Hot weather may cause rosettes to flower ("bolt"), which results in bitter-tasting, dwindling plants. These brassicas are frost hardy and many can withstand a few degrees below freezing. They are not heavy feeders and may not need fertilizer if grown in rotation with nitrogen-fixing legumes.

Tatsoi is very tasty and nutritious. Use the young leaves in salads and sauté, steam, or stir fry the mature leaves.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    11 - 1

  • 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, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4"-12" / 10.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Width

    8"-16" / 20.3cm - 40.6cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Europe, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown, Sienna

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    White, Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    White, Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    White, Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes