Cauliflower broccoli plant growing in a vegetable garden.

Wild Cabbage

Brassica oleracea var. italica

Broccoli (Wikipedia)

Broccoli and cross section edit.jpg
SpeciesBrassica oleracea
Cultivar groupitalica
OriginItaly, more than 2,000 years ago

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is an edible green plant in the cabbage family (family Brassicaceae, genus Brassica) whose large flowering head, stalk and small associated leaves are eaten as a vegetable. Broccoli is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli has large flower heads, usually dark green in color, arranged in a tree-like structure branching out from a thick stalk which is usually light green. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Broccoli resembles cauliflower, which is a different, but closely related cultivar group of the same Brassica species.

It is eaten either raw or cooked. Broccoli is a particularly rich source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Contents of its characteristic sulfur-containing glucosinolate compounds, isothiocyanates and sulforaphane, are diminished by boiling, but are better preserved by steaming, microwaving or stir-frying.

Rapini, sometimes called "broccoli rabe," is a distinct species from broccoli, forming similar but smaller heads and is actually a type of turnip (Brassica rapa).

Broccoli (Wiktionary)


Alternative forms

  • broccolo (rare)
  • brocoli (archaic)


1699, Italian broccoli, plural of broccolo (cabbage sprout, head), diminutive of brocco (shoot, sprout) (which is also the origin of brocade), from Latin broccus (pointed, sharp, projecting; buck-toothed), possibly of Gaulish origin, related to Proto-Celtic *brokkos (badger) or Proto-Celtic *brozdos (

« Back to Glossary Index
Previous articleLettuce
Next articleArugula