Cauliflower Question

David Hershey dh321 at
Thu Jul 8 23:07:20 EST 1999

There does seem to be some controversy about whether cauliflower is
really  floral tissue. The Plant Science text by Hartmann et al. says it
is "prefloral fleshy apical meristem tissue." 

A college Horticulture text says the edible part is "malformed or
hypertrophied flowers" and "Hortus Third" calls it the "condensed and
thickened malformed flower cluster." 

David Hershey
dh321 at

Ross Koning wrote:
> At 9:54 AM -0400 7/7/99, Elaine M. Shea wrote:
> >You can add sage blossoms to the list.  They add color and wonderful flavor
> >to sauces and salads.
> >
> >I was always taught that cauliflower is a trick question.  What we eat is
> >not actually a flower at all, but a proliferation of stem tissue which will
> >flower eventually (in a second season?).  Can someone set me straight?
> >
> >Elaine
> Hi Elaine!
> The "good" part of both fresh cauliflower and broccoli are flower buds that
> will open in just a few days if left attached to the plant (or sometimes
> even if the cut head is placed in a shallow pan of water at room
> temperature!). But, indeed, if you by "cheap" brands of frozen broccoli or
> cauliflower "cuts" or "spears" they have packaged up mostly the stem. When
> you by better brands and/or "florets" you get a higher percentage of flower
> buds in the package. Of course for the best of either of these coles I
> recommend cooking fresh heads from your own garden or from a farmer's
> market.  The flavor difference is AMAZING!
> If you think of broccoli as "little trees" then the trunks are all stem and
> the "leaves" are the flower buds. They are a darker green in color after
> cooking than is the stem. The dark green parts of each flower are the four
> sepals!
> ross
> ________________________________________________________________
> Ross Koning                 | koning at
> Biology Department          |
> Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
> Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479
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