Brassica napus L. var. napobrassica (L.) Peterm. - Rutabaga

Brassica napus plant

Family - Brassicaceae

Stems - To 1.5m tall, herbaceous, branching, erect, reddish-purple below, greenish-red above, glabrous, from large thickened taproot to +10cm in diameter.

Brassica napus stem

Brassica napus rootRoot (hypocotyle).

Leaves - Alternate, glabrous. Lowest leaves to +25cm long, lyrate-pinnatifid, with small prickles above and below on leaf tissue. Middle and upper cauline leaves clasping, glabrous, glaucous, lanceolate. Margins crenate with prickles caused by veins extending beyond leaf tissue.

Inflorescence - Terminal raceme, compact in flower, elongating in fruit to +40cm long. Pedicels of flowers 5-6mm long, elongating in fruit to 1.5cm long, -1mm in diameter.

Flowers - Petals 4, 4-5mm broad at apex, obtuse, yellow, glabrous, to 1cm long, clawed. Stamens 6, erect. Longer 4 stamens with filaments to 4.5mm long, white, glabrous. Shorter stamens with filaments to 2mm long. Anthers yellow, +2mm long. Ovary 4.5mm long, slightly flattened, glabrous. Style 2mm long, persistent in fruit as beak. Sepals 4, yellow, glabrous, 1.5mm broad, 6mm long, linear, spreading to erect.

Brassica napus calyxCalyx.

Brassica napus flowerFlower close-up.

Flowering - April - September.

Habitat - Cultivated and escaped to waste places, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Eurasia.

Other info. - This is the commonly cultivated rutabaga enjoyed by many. The plant is actually quite nice to look at. Turnips, B. campestris L., resemble rutabagas but the roots are flat across the top.

Photographs taken off Hwy 29, Pike County, AL., 2-26-05.


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