Barry Meatyard Barry.Meatyard at CSV.WARWICK.AC.UK
Tue Mar 11 04:49:33 EST 1997

On 10/3/97 Tom Wallenmaie wrote:

>Would someone clarify the scientific name for
>rapeseed for me? Is it Brassica rapa or
>Brassica napa?
>Tom W.
>Southfield, MI

This is to add to the note by David Kramer. The problem as usual lies with
the use of common names.  My understanding is that Brassica rapa (syn.
campestris) (n=10) is applied to chinese cabbage and stubble turnips (and
Fast Plants!). This is one of the parents (along with B.oleracea - n=9) of
the allopolyploid hybrid B.napus (n=19) which includes the plant we call
Oilseed Rape in UK, and swede.

For interest B.rapa hybridises with B.nigra (n=8) - the black mustard seed
of biblical significance to form B.juncea (n=18). This (I think) is the
'green manure mustard' used to intercrop and protect soil from erosion and
is ploughed in as a green manure. B.oleracea hybridises with B.nigra to
form B.carinata (n=17) - the Ethiopian mustard.  This state of affairs is
referred to as the Brassica triangle.

Ref is Hemingway J.S. in Evolution of Crop Plants, Ed. Simmonds N.W. 1976

The situation is complicated because of the recent re-naming of
B.campestris to B.rapa.

At least it keeps the taxonomists in business.

I would welcome any comments or additions to the uses of the various Brassicas.

Barry Meatyard

Dr.Barry Meatyard                       Tel: 01203 524228
Science and Plants for Schools          Fax: 01203 523237
Institute of Education                  Email: barry.meatyard at warwick.ac.uk
University of Warwick

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