Economic Botany

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 397–410 | Cite as

Taxonomy and evolution of broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica)

  • A. R. Gray


The origin and application of the name broccoli are discussed and a distinction between cauliflower and broccoli is proposed, based on their relative ontogeny at marketable maturity. The history and evolution of broccoli is considered in relation to cauliflower and its diversification into annual and biennial types is discussed. White-sprouting broccoli is considered to be closely related to English winter-hardy cauliflower. Calabrese, though representing only a small part of the italica gene pool, has been the most intensively developed, being currently represented by many cultivars, including F1 hybrids. The potential for breeding new Cape and sprouting broccolis is discussed, and the need to conserve existing genetic variability of existing cultivars within Cape and sprouting broccoli is stressed.


Economic Botany Brassica Oleracea Clubroot Resistance Sprouting Broccoli Cole Crop 
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Copyright information

© New York Botanical Garden 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. R. Gray
    • 1
  1. 1.National Vegetable Research StationWellesbourneUK

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