Cabbage is a popular cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

 of the species Brassica oleracea
Brassica oleracea
Brassica oleracea, or wild cabbage, is a species of Brassica native to coastal southern and western Europe, where its tolerance of salt and lime and its intolerance of competition from other plants typically restrict its natural occurrence to limestone sea cliffs, like the chalk cliffs on both...

 Linne (Capitata Group) of the Family Brassicaceae
Brassicaceae, a medium sized and economically important family of flowering plants , are informally known as the mustards, mustard flowers, the crucifers or the cabbage family....

 (or Cruciferae) and is a leafy green vegetable. It is a herbaceous
A herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground...

, biennial
Biennial plant
A biennial plant is a flowering plant that takes two years to complete its biological lifecycle. In the first year the plant grows leaves, stems, and roots , then it enters a period of dormancy over the colder months. Usually the stem remains very short and the leaves are low to the ground, forming...

, dicotyledonous flowering plant
Flowering plant
The flowering plants , also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies...

 distinguished by a short stem upon which is crowded a mass of leaves, usually green but in some varieties red or purplish, which while immature form a characteristic compact, globular cluster (cabbagehead).

The plant is also called head cabbage or heading cabbage, and in Scotland a bowkail, from its rounded shape. The Scots call its stalk a castock, and the British occasionally call its head a loaf.
It is in the same genus as the turnip
The turnip or white turnip is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock...

 – Brassica rapa.

Cabbage leaves often have a delicate, powdery, waxy coating called bloom. The occasionally sharp or bitter taste of cabbage is due to glucosinolate
The glucosinolates are a class of organic compounds that contain sulfur and nitrogen and are derived from glucose and an amino acid. They occur as secondary metabolites of almost all plants of the order Brassicales , but also in the genus Drypetes .-Chemistry:Glucosinolates are water-soluble...

(s). Cabbages are also a good source of riboflavin
Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2 or additive E101, is an easily absorbed micronutrient with a key role in maintaining health in humans and animals. It is the central component of the cofactors FAD and FMN, and is therefore required by all flavoproteins. As such, vitamin B2 is required for a...



The cultivated cabbage is derived from a leafy plant called the wild mustard
Brassica oleracea
Brassica oleracea, or wild cabbage, is a species of Brassica native to coastal southern and western Europe, where its tolerance of salt and lime and its intolerance of competition from other plants typically restrict its natural occurrence to limestone sea cliffs, like the chalk cliffs on both...

 plant, native to the Mediterranean region, where it is common along the seacoast. Also called sea cabbage and wild cabbage, it was known to the ancient Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

; Cato the Elder
Cato the Elder
Marcus Porcius Cato was a Roman statesman, commonly referred to as Censorius , Sapiens , Priscus , or Major, Cato the Elder, or Cato the Censor, to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Younger.He came of an ancient Plebeian family who all were noted for some...

 praised this vegetable for its medicinal properties, declaring that "It is the cabbage that surpasses all other vegetables." The English name derives from the Normanno
Norman language
Norman is a Romance language and one of the Oïl languages. Norman can be classified as one of the northern Oïl languages along with Picard and Walloon...

Picard language
Picard is a language closely related to French, and as such is one of the larger group of Romance languages. It is spoken in two regions in the far north of France – Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy – and in parts of the Belgian region of Wallonia, the district of Tournai and a part of...

 caboche (head), perhaps from boche (swelling, bump). Cabbage was developed by ongoing selective breeding for suppression of the internode length.


The only part of the plant that is normally eaten is the leafy head; more precisely, the spherical cluster of immature leaves, excluding the partially unfolded outer leaves. Cabbage is used in a variety of dishes for its naturally spicy flavor. The so-called "cabbage head" is widely consumed raw, cooked, or preserved in a great variety of dishes. It is the principal ingredient in coleslaw
Coleslaw, sometimes simply called slaw in some American dialects, is a salad consisting primarily of shredded raw cabbage. It may also include shredded carrots and other ingredients such as fruits and vegetables, apples, onions, green onions, peppers and various spices.-History:The term "coleslaw"...



Cabbage is often added to soup
Soup is a generally warm food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables with stock, juice, water, or another liquid. Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavors are extracted, forming a broth.Traditionally,...

s or stew
A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables , meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used...

s. Cabbage soup is popular in Central
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 and eastern Europe
Eastern European cuisine
Eastern European cuisine is a term regarding the cuisine of Eastern Europe.The cuisine of a country is strongly influenced by its climate...

, and cabbage is an ingredient in some kinds of borscht
Borscht is a soup of Ukrainian origin that is popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. In most of these countries, it is made with beetroot as the main ingredient, giving it a deep reddish-purple color...

. Garbure
Garbure is a thick French soup or stew of ham with cabbage and other vegetables, usually with cheese and stale bread added. The name derives from the use of the term garb to describe sheaves of grain depicted on a heraldic shield or coat of arms. Thus the name of garbure, which is eaten with a...

 (from Provençal garburo) is a thick soup of cabbage or other vegetables with bacon. Cabbage may be an ingredient in kugel
Kugel is a baked Ashkenazi Jewish pudding or casserole, similar to a pie, most commonly made from egg noodles or potatoes, though at times made of zucchini, apples, spinach, broccoli, cranberry, or sweet potato...

, a baked pudding served as a side dish or dessert. Cabbage is also used in many popular dishes in India.
Boiling tenderizes the leaves and releases sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

s, which leads to the characteristic "cabbage" aroma. Boiled cabbage has become stigmatized because of its strong cooking odor and the fact that it causes flatulence
Flatulence is the expulsion through the rectum of a mixture of gases that are byproducts of the digestion process of mammals and other animals. The medical term for the mixture of gases is flatus, informally known as a fart, or simply gas...

. Moreover, boiling reduces the cabbage's anticancer properties. It is often prepared and served with boiled meat and other vegetables as part of a boiled dinner
New England boiled dinner
New England boiled dinner is the basis of a traditional New England meal, consisting of corned beef or a smoked "picnic ham" shoulder, with cabbage and added vegetable items, often including potato, rutabaga, parsnip, carrot, white turnip and onion. When using a beef roast, this meal is often known...

. Harold McGee
Harold McGee
Harold McGee is an American author who writes about the chemistry, technique and history of food and cooking and has written two seminal books on kitchen science. His first book, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen was initially published in 1984. A greatly revised second...

 has studied the development of unpleasant smells when cooking brassica
Brassica is a genus of plants in the mustard family . The members of the genus may be collectively known either as cabbages, or as mustards...

s and reports that they develop with prolonged cooking. According to
Corriher's Compendium, smell doubles when prolonging cooking from five to seven minutes; for best results cabbage should be sliced thinly and cooked for four minutes.

Cabbage roll
Cabbage roll
A cabbage roll is a dish consisting of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings. It is common to the ethnic cuisines of England, and has also found popularity in areas of North America settled by English Settlers....

s, a type of dolma
Dolma is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions such as Russia, Middle East and the Caucasus and Central and South Asia. Perhaps the best-known is the grape-leaf dolma. Common vegetables to stuff include onion, zucchini, eggplant,...

, are an East European and Middle Eastern delicacy. The leaves are softened by parboiling or by placing the whole head of cabbage in the freezer, and then the leaves are stuffed with a mixture of chopped meat and/or rice. Stuffed cabbage is called holishkes
Holishkes is a traditional Jewish cabbage roll dish, served at Sukkot.They are made from lightly boiled cabbage leaves, which are wrapped in a parcel-like manner around minced meat...

 in Yiddish, holubky (Slovak and Czech), holubtsi (Ukrainian), gołąbki [ɡɔˈwɔmpki] (Polish), golubtsy (Russian), balandėliai (Lithuanian), tīteņi (Latvian), kohlrouladen (German) or töltött káposzta (Hungarian). It literally translates as "little pigeons" in Polish, Slovak and Lithuanian.

A vegetable stuffed with shredded cabbage and then pickled is called mango.

The largest cabbage dish ever made was on 19 December 2008 in the Macedonian city of Prilep
Prilep is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It has a population of 66,246 citizens. Prilep is known as "the city under Marko's Towers" because of its proximity to the towers of Prince Marko.-Name:...

, with 80,191 sarmas
Sarma (food)
Sarma is a dish of grape, cabbage or chard leaves rolled around a filling usually based on minced meat. It is found in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire from the Middle East to the Balkans and Central Europe.-Etymology and names:...

 (cabbage rolls) weighing 544 kg (1,221 lbs).
Bubble and squeak
Bubble and squeak
Bubble and squeak is a traditional English dish made with the shallow-fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner. The main ingredients are potato and cabbage, but carrots, peas, brussels sprouts, and other vegetables can be added...

 consists of potatoes and cabbage or, especially formerly, potatoes, cabbage and meat fried together. Potatoes and cabbage or other greens boiled and mashed together make up a dish called colcannon
Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish mainly consisting of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage. It is also the name of a song about the dish.-Dish:...

, an Irish Gaelic word meaning white-headed cabbage, grounded in Old Irish terms for cabbage or kale (cāl), head (cend or cenn) and white (find). In the American South and Midland, "corn dodgers" were boiled as dumplings with cabbage and ham.

Fermented and preserved

Cabbage is the basis for German Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut , directly translated from German: "sour cabbage", is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, including Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. It has a long shelf-life and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid...

. Chinese suan cai
Suan cai
Suan cai , or in English, "sour vegetable", is a traditional Chinese pickled Chinese cabbage. It is used in a variety of ways...

 and Korean kimchi
Kimchi , also spelled gimchi, kimchee, or kim chee, is a traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables with varied seasonings. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made with a main vegetable ingredient such as napa cabbage, radish, green onions or cucumber. It is the most common...

 are produced using the related Chinese cabbage
Chinese cabbage
Chinese cabbage can refer to two distinct varieties of Chinese leaf vegetables used often in Chinese cuisine. These vegetables are both related to the Western cabbage, and are of the same species as the common turnip...

. To pickle cabbage, it is covered with a brine made of its own juice with salt, and left in a warm place for several weeks to ferment. Sauerkraut (colloquially referred to as "kraut") was historically prepared at home in large batches, as a way of storing food for the winter. The word comes from German sauer (sour) and kraut (plant or cabbage) (Old High German sūr and krūt). Cabbage can also be pickled in vinegar with various spices, alone or in combination with other vegetables (turnips can be cured in the same way). Korean baechu kimchi is usually sliced thicker than its European counterpart, and the addition of onions, chiles, minced garlic and ginger is common.

Medicinal properties

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

. It also contains significant amounts of glutamine
Glutamine is one of the 20 amino acids encoded by the standard genetic code. It is not recognized as an essential amino acid but may become conditionally essential in certain situations, including intensive athletic training or certain gastrointestinal disorders...

, an amino acid
Amino acid
Amino acids are molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side-chain that varies between different amino acids. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen...

 that has anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process...

 properties. Cabbage can also be included in dieting
Dieting is the practice of eating food in a regulated fashion to achieve or maintain a controlled weight. In most cases dieting is used in combination with physical exercise to lose weight in those who are overweight or obese. Some athletes, however, follow a diet to gain weight...

 programs, as it is a low calorie food.

Along with broccoli
Broccoli is a plant in the cabbage family, whose large flower head is used as a vegetable.-General:The word broccoli, from the Italian plural of , refers to "the flowering top of a cabbage"....

 and other Brassica
Brassica is a genus of plants in the mustard family . The members of the genus may be collectively known either as cabbages, or as mustards...

 vegetables, cabbage is a source of indole-3-carbinol
Indole-3-carbinol is produced by the breakdown of the glucosinolate glucobrassicin, which can be found at relatively high levels in cruciferous vegetables. Indole-3-carbinol is the subject of on-going Biomedical research into its possible anticarcinogenic, antioxidant, and anti-atherogenic effects...

, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. The compound is also used as an adjuvant therapy for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis
Laryngeal papillomatosis
Laryngeal papillomatosis, also known as recurrent respiratory papillomatosis or glottal papillomatosis, is a rare medical condition , caused by a HPV infection of the throat. Laryngeal papillomatosis causes assorted tumors or papillomas to develop over a period of time...

, a disease of the head and neck caused by human papillomavirus (usually types 6 and 11) that causes growths in the airway that can lead to death. Boiling reduces anticancer properties.

In European folk medicine, cabbage leaves are used to treat acute inflammation. A paste of raw cabbage may be placed in a cabbage leaf and wrapped around the affected area to reduce discomfort. Some claim it is effective in relieving painfully engorged breasts in breastfeeding women.

Fresh cabbage juice has been shown to promote rapid healing of peptic ulcer
Peptic ulcer
A peptic ulcer, also known as PUD or peptic ulcer disease, is the most common ulcer of an area of the gastrointestinal tract that is usually acidic and thus extremely painful. It is defined as mucosal erosions equal to or greater than 0.5 cm...


Effect on the thyroid gland

Cabbage may also act as a goitrogen
Goitrogens are substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake, which can, as a result, cause an enlargement of the thyroid, i.e., a goitre.-Goitrogenic drugs and chemicals:...

. It blocks organification
Organification is a biochemical process that takes place in thyroid glands. It is the oxidation of iodide by peroxide, and then its binding to tyrosyl residues within the thyroglobulin molecule....

 in thyroid cells, thus inhibiting the production of the thyroid hormones (thyroxine
Thyroxine, or 3,5,3',5'-tetraiodothyronine , a form of thyroid hormones, is the major hormone secreted by the follicular cells of the thyroid gland.-Synthesis and regulation:...

 and triiodothyronine
Triiodothyronine, C15H12I3NO4, also known as T3, is a thyroid hormone. It affects almost every physiological process in the body, including growth and development, metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate....

). The result is an increased secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormone
Thyroid-stimulating hormone
Thyrotrophin-stimulating hormone is a peptide hormone synthesized and secreted by thyrotrope cells in the anterior pituitary gland, which regulates the endocrine function of the thyroid gland.- Physiology :...

 (TSH) due to low thyroid hormone levels. This increase in TSH results in an enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter).


There are many varieties of cabbage based on shape and time of maturity. Cabbages grown late in autumn and in the beginning of winter are called "coleworts"; their leaves do not form a compact head. "Colewort" may also refer to a young cabbage. The word comes from Latin caulis (stalk of a plant, cabbage) and Old English wyrt (herb, plant, root). A "drumhead" cabbage has a rounded, flattened head. An "oxheart" cabbage has an oval or conical head. A "pickling" cabbage, such as the red-leafed cabbage, is especially suitable for pickling; 'Krautman' is the most common variety for commercial production of sauerkraut. Red cabbage
Red Cabbage
The red cabbage is a sort of cabbage, also known as Red Kraut or Blue Kraut after preparation....

 is a small, round-headed type with dark red leaves. Savoy cabbage
Savoy cabbage
Savoy cabbage is a variety of the cabbage, a cultivar of the plant species Brassica oleracea. Savoy cabbage is a winter vegetable. A variety of the savoy cabbage is the January King Cabbage....

 has a round, compact head with crinkled and curled leaves. Winter cabbage will survive the winter in the open in mild regions such as the southern United States; the name is also used for Savoy cabbage. Other traditional varieties include white cabbage
White cabbage
White cabbage is a variety of the cabbage, a cultivar of the plant species Brassica oleracea. White cabbage is a winter vegetable....

, 'Late Flat Dutch', 'Early Jersey Wakefield' (a conical variety), 'Danish Ballhead' (late, round-headed), 'Cuor di Bue Grosso' (conical heads, from Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

), 'Copenhagen Market Cabbage' (large round heads, from Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

), and 'Mammoth Red Rock' (large round heads with deep red leaves).


The most cabbage in the world is produced in China, followed by India and then the Russian Federation
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

Top ten producers of cabbage and other brassicas — 11 June 2008
Country Production (Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

36335000 tonnes (35,761,035.4 LT) Food And Agricultural Organization estimate
5283200 tonnes (5,199,744.1 LT)
4054000 tonnes (3,989,961.1 LT)
3000000 tonnes (2,952,610.6 LT)
2390000 tonnes (2,352,246.4 LT)
1375900 tonnes (1,354,165.6 LT)
1300000 tonnes (1,279,464.6 LT)
1250000 tonnes (1,230,254.4 LT)
1171350 tonnes (1,152,846.8 LT)
1120000 tonnes (1,102,308 LT)
World 69214270 tonnes (68,120,929.1 LT) Aggregate (may include official, semi-official or estimates)

Sometimes, young cabbages are picked early when they are tender and small, and eaten as "baby veggies". Those vegetables are more tender and sweet than older picked cabbages, and can be stored for a longer time.


Among the many destructive diseases affecting the cabbage and often other members of the cabbage family are:
  • blackleg or black stem, caused by certain fungi (such as Phoma lingam); lesions in the stem near the soil surface become sunken and dark, and may girdle the stem
  • black ring or black ring spot, caused by a virus; necrotic, dark and often sunken rings on the leaf surface
  • black rot
    Black rot
    Black rot is a name used for various diseases of cultivated plants caused by fungi or bacteria, producing dark brown discoloration and decay in the leaves of fruit and vegetables:...

    , caused by a bacterium (Xanthomonas campestris
    Xanthomonas campestris
    Xanthomonas campestris is a bacterial species that causes a variety of plant diseases. Available from the NCPPB,and other international Culture collections such as ICMP, ATCC, and LMG in a purified form, it is used in the commercial production of a high-molecular-weight polysaccharide - xanthan...

  • cabbagehead, abnormal growth in rutabagas caused by larvae of a gall midge (Contarinia nasturtii) feeding in basal part of the stalks
  • cabbage yellows or cabbage wilt, caused by a fungus (Fusarium oxysporum
    Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. betae
    Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. betae is a destructive fungal plant pathogen. It causes cabbage yellows or cabbage wilt, characterized by yellowing and dwarfing.-External links:* *...

     or Fusarium conglutinans); yellowing and dwarfing
  • clubroot
    Clubroot is a common disease of cabbages, radishes, turnips and other plants belonging to the family Cruciferae . It is caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae, which was once considered a slime mold but is now put in the group Phytomyxea. It has as many as nine races. Gall formation or distortion takes...

    , common, caused by a protist
    Protists are a diverse group of eukaryotic microorganisms. Historically, protists were treated as the kingdom Protista, which includes mostly unicellular organisms that do not fit into the other kingdoms, but this group is contested in modern taxonomy...

     (Plasmodiophora brassicae), formerly classified as a slime mold; swellings or distortions of the root, followed often by decline in vigor or by death
  • wire stem, caused by a fungus (Pellicularia filamentosa or Rhizoctonia solani
    Rhizoctonia solani
    Rhizoctonia solani is a plant pathogenic fungus with a wide host range and worldwide distribution. This plant pathogen was discovered more than 100 years ago. Rhizoctonia solani frequently exists as thread-like growth on plants or in culture. Asexual spores are not produced, only the sexual stage...

    ); constricted, wiry stem; similar to damping-off but attacks older seedlings


(See also List of Lepidoptera that feed on Brassica).

Many insects and other pests infest cabbage plants, among them:
  • cabbage worm
    Cabbage worm
    The term cabbage worm is primarily used for any of four kinds of lepidopteran whose larvae feed on cabbages and other cole crops. Host plants include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, radishes, turnips, rutabagas and kohlrabi...

    , any of numerous insect larvae that feed on cabbages:
    • imported cabbage worm, the green larvae of the cabbage butterfly or cabbage white, any of several largely white butterflies (family Pieridae
      The Pieridae are a large family of butterflies with about 76 genera containing approximately 1,100 species, mostly from tropical Africa and Asia. Most pierid butterflies are white, yellow or orange in coloration, often with black spots...

      , type genus Pieris, garden whites); they include a small cosmopolitan form (P. rapae), called also small white; a larger Old World form (P. brassicae), called also large white; a common North American form (P. protodice
      Pontia protodice
      The Checkered White , also called Southern Cabbage Butterfly, is a common North American butterfly in the family Pieridae. Its green larva is a type of cabbage worm.- Description :...

      ), called also checkered white or southern cabbage butterfly; and the green-veined white
      Green-veined White
      The Green-veined White is a butterfly of the Pieridae family.-Appearance and distribution:A circumboreal species widespread across Europe and Asia, including the Indian subcontinent, Japan and the Maghreb and North America...

       (P. napi), occurring in Europe and North America; larvae eat the leaves, are toxic to animals that consume the infested foliage
    • cabbage moth or diamondback moth
      Diamondback moth
      The diamondback moth , sometimes called cabbage moth, is a European moth believed to originate in the Mediterranean region that has since spread worldwide. The moth has a short life cycle , is highly fecund and capable of migrating long distances...

       (Plutella xylostella) larva, cosmopolitan of European origin
    • cabbage webworm (Hellula undalis), widely distributed, native to southern Europe or Asia, destructive in the U.S. Gulf states
    • cutworm
      Cutworms are not worms, biologically speaking, but caterpillars; they are moth larvae that hide under litter or soil during the day, coming out in the dark to feed on plants...

  • cabbage aphid, cabbage aphis or turnip aphid, widely distributed and destructive grayish-green plant louse (Brevicoryne brassicae
    Brevicoryne brassicae
    Brevicoryne brassicae, commonly known as the cabbage aphid, cabbage aphis or turnip aphid, is a destructive aphid native to Europe that is now found in many other areas of the world...

    ); lives on leaves
  • cabbage curculio, small weevil (Ceutorhynchus rapae); feeds within stems and on leaves
  • cabbage fly, cabbage root fly
    Cabbage root fly
    Delia radicum, known variously as the cabbage fly, cabbage root fly, root fly or turnip fly, is a pest of crops. The larvae of the cabbage root fly are sometimes known as the cabbage maggot or root maggot...

    , root fly or turnip fly (Hylemya brassicae or Delia radicum, family Anthomyiidae
    Anthomyiidae is a large and diverse family of Muscoidea flies. Name came from Greek "anthos" + "myia" . Some species are commonly called "root-maggots", as the larvae are found in the stems and roots of various plants...

    ), adult of small white cabbage maggot or root maggot that feeds in roots and stems
  • cabbage-leaf miner, small fly (Phytomyza rufipes) whose maggot is injurious
  • cabbage looper
    Cabbage looper
    The Cabbage Looper is a member of the moth family Noctuidae. It is found throughout the southern Palaearctic ecozone, all of North America, parts of Africa and most of the Oriental and Indo-Australian region....

    , pale green, white-striped measuring worm (Trichoplusia ni), larva of a moth of the family Noctuidae; feeds on leaves
  • cabbage seedpod weevil (Ceutorhynchus assimilis), small, grayish black; related to the cabbage curculio, but smaller; feeds on and destroys developing seeds
  • cabbage snake, nematode worm of the family Mermithidae, parasitic on insect pests
  • gamma moth or silver Y moth (Plusia gamma) larva; migratory European noctuid moth having a bright, silvery, Y-shaped mark on each fore wing
  • harlequin cabbage bug (Murgantia histrionica), black stinkbug in tropical America and the warmer parts of the United States
  • serpentine leaf miner
    Serpentine leaf miner
    The serpentine leaf miner is the larva of a small fly, Liriomyza brassicae, that eats out slender, winding, whitish or greenish burrows in the leaves of cabbage and related plants, cultivated and wild...

    , grub that is the larva of a small fly (Liriomyza brassicae); eats out slender, white, winding burrows in the leaves
  • striped flea beetle
    Striped flea beetle
    The striped flea beetle is a small flea beetle, shiny black with a greenish tinge, 1.5 to 2.5 mm long, having a wavy yellow line running the length of each elytron . It is a pest of cabbage and other brassicas...

     (Phyllotreta striolata); has a yellow line on each elytron
  • zebra caterpillar
    Zebra caterpillar
    The zebra caterpillar is the larva of an American noctuid moth that feeds on cabbages, beets and other cultivated plants....

    , larva of an American noctuid moth (Ceramica picta); light yellow with a broad black stripe on the back and lateral stripes crossed with white

Related Brassica varieties and species

Besides cabbage proper, the species Brassica oleracea has many distinctive cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s that are commonly known by other names. They include: broccoli
Broccoli is a plant in the cabbage family, whose large flower head is used as a vegetable.-General:The word broccoli, from the Italian plural of , refers to "the flowering top of a cabbage"....

 (Italica group); Brussels sprout
Brussels sprout
The Brussels sprout is a cultivar of wild cabbage grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm in diameter and look like miniature cabbages. The sprout is Brassica oleracea, in the "gemmifera" group of the family Brassicaceae...

s (Gemmifera group), whose edible small green heads resemble diminutive cabbages; cauliflower
Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed...

 (Botrytis group), whose flower cluster is used as a vegetable; Chinese kale or Chinese broccoli (Alboglabra group); kale
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane , a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming,...

 or spring greens, a very hardy cabbage (Acephala group) that has curled, often finely cut leaves that do not form a dense head; collard greens
Collard greens
Collard greens are various loose-leafed cultivars of Brassica oleracea , the same species as cabbage and broccoli. The plant is grown for its large, dark-colored, edible leaves and as a garden ornamental, mainly in Brazil, Portugal, the southern United States, many parts of Africa, Montenegro,...

, a type of kale; and kohlrabi (Gongylodes group), having an edible stem that becomes greatly enlarged, fleshy and turnip-shaped. Hybrids include broccolini
Broccolini is a green vegetable similar to broccoli but with smaller florets and longer, thin stalks. Although often misidentified as young broccoli, it is a cross between broccoli and kai-lan, Chinese broccoli...

 (Italica × Alboglabra group), broccoflower
Broccoflower refers to either of two edible plants of the species Brassica oleracea with light green heads. The edible portion is the immature flower head of the plant....

 (Italica × Botrytis group) and choumoelliera or marrow cabbage (cabbage, kohlrabi and kale).

There are two species of Chinese cabbage (lettuce cabbage, pakchoi, pechay) from Asia that somewhat resemble cabbage and are widely used as greens: Brassica chinensis, bok choy or celery cabbage, which forms a loose, chardlike head of dark green leaves, and Brassica pekinensis
Celery cabbage
Celery cabbage , is a species of mustard cultivated for its edible leaves....

, or pe-tsai (peh-tsai), forming an elongated compact head of broad, light green leaves. Rape
Rapeseed , also known as rape, oilseed rape, rapa, rappi, rapaseed is a bright yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae...

, an annual herb (Brassica napus) of European origin but known only as a cultigen, differs from the cabbage in its deeply lobed leaves, which are not hairy like those of the turnip.

Other "cabbage" plants

A number of other noncruciferous plants bear the name "cabbage" or are likened to it by their appearance, though many are not food plants with parts for human consumption.
  • Several palms, called cabbage palm or cabbage tree, have a terminal bud (cabbage, palm cabbage or palmito) eaten like cabbage as a vegetable, including:
    • assai palm (palmiste, royal palm, sago palm, Euterpe edulis
      Euterpe edulis
      Euterpe edulis, commonly known as jucara, Juçara, Açaí-do-sul or Palmiteiro, is palm species in the genus Euterpe. It is now predominantly used for hearts of palm. It is closely related to the açaí palm , a species cultivated for its fruit and superior hearts of palm. The larvae of Caligo...

    • cabbage palmetto (palm cabbage, palm thatch, pond top, pond top palmetto, sabal palmetto, swamp cabbage, species Sabal palmetto), a fan palm with an edible young terminal bud called "heart of palm"
    • Cussonia
      Cussonia is a genus of plants of family Araliaceae, represented by 20 species. It originated in Africa and has its center of distribution in South Africa and Madagascar.-References:*...

       genus, an araliaceous tree
    • Livistona
      Livistona is a genus of 36 species of palms , native to southern and southeastern Asia, Australasia, and the Horn of Africa...

      , especially L. australis
      Livistona australis
      The Cabbage-tree Palm is in the Arecaceae family. It is a tall, slender palm growing up to about 25 m in height and 0.35 m diameter. It is crowned with dark, glossy green leaves on petioles 2 m long. It has leaves plaited like a fan; the cabbage of these is small but sweet...

      , from Australia, from which the fibrous leaves are plaited into the cabbage-tree hat
    • mountain palm (Roystonea oleracea
      Roystonea oleracea
      Roystonea oleracea, sometimes known as the Caribbean Royal Palm, palmiste, Imperial palm or cabbage palm, is a species of palm which is native to the Lesser Antilles, northern South America and Trinidad and Tobago.-Description:...

      ), a tall West Indian palm, the source of partridgewood
    • saw cabbage palm (saw palmetto, Acoelorrhaphe wrightii)
    • ti (Cordyline australis), a medium-sized New Zealand tree

  • Other kinds of trees seen as bearing a resemblance include:
    • cabbage bark (genus Andira
      Andira is a genus of legume in the Fabaceae family.It contains the following species:* Andira aubletii Benth.* Andira galeottiana* Andira inermis* Andira humilis-External Links:* -References:...

      ), also called angelim or worm bark, whose bark (cabbage bark) is sometimes used in medicine as a vermifuge
    • Surinam cabbage tree (Andira retusa), having bark that is used as an anthelmintic and cathartic
    • black cabbage tree (Melanodendron integrifolium), with a campanulate involucre about the flower head
    • cabbage gum (especially Eucalyptus pauciflora
      Eucalyptus pauciflora
      The Snow Gum is a small tree or large shrub native to eastern Australia.-Habitat:It is usually found in the subalpine habitats of eastern Australia. Snow Gums also grow in lowland habitats where they can reach heights of up to 20 metres. Lowland Snow Gum is sometimes known as White Sallee, Cabbage...

       and E. virgata), probably so called from the fleshy leaves

  • Still other cabbage-like plants include:
    • cabbage rose (also moss rose, pale rose or Provence rose, Rosa centifolia
      Rosa centifolia
      Rosa × centifolia , the provence rose or cabbage rose or Rose de Mai is a hybrid rose developed by Dutch rose breeders in the period between the 17th century and the 19th century, possibly earlier...

      ), a fragrant garden rose having full white or pink flowers, with a dwarf variety (pomponia) called pompon
    • deer cabbage (Lupinus diffusus
      Lupinus diffusus
      Lupinus diffusus is a species of lupine native to the southeastern United States, from North Carolina south to Florida and west to Mississippi...

      ), a lupine
    • dog cabbage (dog's cabbage, Theligonum cynocrambe), a fleshy southern European herb
    • head lettuce (cabbage lettuce, Lactuca sativa var. capitata), distinguished by leaves arranged in a dense rosette, which ultimately develops into a compact head suggesting that of cabbage
    • Kerguelen cabbage, a herb (Pringlea antiscorbutica, also called horseradish) in the family Brassicaceae, from the Indian Ocean island of Kerguelen
    • Maori cabbage, the wild cabbage of New Zealand
    • native cabbage (Scaevola taccada
      Scaevola taccada
      Scaevola taccada, also known as Beach Cabbage, Sea Lettuce, Beach Naupaka, Naupaka kahakai , Merambong and Ngahu is a flowering plant in the family Goodeniaceae found in open coastal locations of the tropical areas of the Indo-Pacific...

      ), a succulent Australian shrub
    • poor man's cabbage (Barbarea verna
      Barbarea verna
      Land cress , also known as American cress, bank cress, black wood cress, Belle Isle cress, Bermuda cress, early yellowrocket, early wintercress, scurvy cress, and upland cress, is a biennial herb in the family Brassicaceae. It is native to southwestern Europe, but is also cultivated in Florida...

      ), a winter cress
    • Saint-Patrick's cabbage (London pride, Saxifraga x urbium), a hardy perennial saxifrage native to western Europe
    • sea cabbage, also called sea kale, a European perennial herb (Crambe maritima) sometimes cultivated for its large, ovate, long-stalked leaves, used as a potherb (distinct from Brassica oleracea)
    • skunk cabbage (fetid hellebore, meadow cabbage, polecat weed, skunkweed; stinking poke, swamp cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus or its Asian relative Lysichiton camstschatcense) (the name is sometimes used for the pitcher plant)
    • squaw cabbage (Indian lettuce, Montia perfoliata), a succulent herb; or any of various plants of the family Brassicaceae, especially of the genera Caulanthus
      Caulanthus is a genus of plants in the mustard family. Plants of this genus may be known as jewelflowers. They are also often referred to as wild cabbage, although this common name usually refers to wild variants of Brassica oleraceae, the cabbage plant...

       and Streptanthus
      Streptanthus is a genus within the mustard family, Brassicaceae. There are about 35 known species within the Streptanthus genus, distributed mostly throughout western North America. The common names for this genus are Jewelflower and Twistflower...

      , believed to have been used as potherbs by the Indians
    • water cabbage (Nymphaea odorata
      Nymphaea odorata
      Nymphaea odorata, also known as the Fragrant Water Lily and Beaver Root, is a flower belonging to the genus Nymphaea. It can commonly be found in lake shallows, ponds, and permanent slow moving waters throughout North America where it ranges from Central America to northern Canada...

      ), a white water lily
    • water lettuce (also called water cabbage, Pistia stratiotes), a common tropical floating plant forming a rosette of spongy, wedge-shaped leaves
    • wild cabbage, a succulent herb (Caulanthus crassicaulis
      Caulanthus crassicaulis
      Caulanthus crassicaulis is a species of flowering plant in the mustard family known by the common name thickstem wild cabbage. It is native to the western United States where it is a member of the flora in sagebrush, woodland, and desert scrub habitats. This is a perennial herb producing a stout,...

      ) of the family Brassicaceae that has edible foliage
    • Nereocystis
      Nereocystis is a genus of kelp. It forms thick beds on rocks, and is an important part of kelp forests. There is only one species, Nereocystis luetkeana. It can grow to a maximum of 74 meters...

      , sea-otter's-cabbage (bladder kelp, sea turnip), a brown alga

Linguistic and vernacular associations

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, "kraut" was an ethnic slur for a German soldier or civilian.

A thick-witted person may be called a "cabbagehead". In Hebrew, the term rosh kruv (cabbagehead) implies stupidity.

In Italian, cavolo (cabbage) is a mildly impolite expression with a similar connotation to the English "crap".

The French use a term of endearment, mon chou or mon petit chou, equivalent to "darling", but translated literally as "my little cabbage" in school French textbooks in England since the late 1950s. This is still used today, as can be seen in this extract from Shamrocks Falling by P A Matthews:
“See there ma petite chou, now everything is worked out.”
Patricia turned and walked back to the desk. “Gérard, why must you call me ma petite chou all the time?”
“Ma chérie, it is an endearment. If you understood that in French…”
She cut him off mid sentence. “I know what it means Gérard. Even with my limited French vocabulary I know that it means my small cabbage.”
“But that is not the endearment. You do not understand…”'

In French, however, the term is only used in the masculine form as the word "chou" is masculine.

The word also refers to a pâtisserie
A pâtisserie is the type of French or Belgian bakery that specializes in pastries and sweets. In both countries it is a legally controlled title that may only be used by bakeries that employ a licensed maître pâtissier ....

 item called chou à la crème, a sphere of light, airy pastry split and sandwiched with a thick layer of whipped or confectioner's cream. In addition, it is also used for a soft, cabbage-shaped ornament or rosette of fabric used in women's wear, such as a knot of ribbons on a dress or a crushed crown on a hat. Chou comes from the Latin caulis (stalk).

In England, cabbage is a rarely used slang word for cash, especially paper money or bank notes. It is also used vulgarly for a person in a vegetative state, and by extension, "cabbaging" means "lazing about".
In Russian, капуста (kapusta) is also a widely used slang word for cash.

See also

  • Cabbage Head, Tilbury, Ontario
    Tilbury, Ontario
    Tilbury is a community in the municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada. It is located between Chatham and Windsor on Highway 401.-History:...

  • Cabbage Patch Kids
    Cabbage Patch Kids
    Cabbage Patch Kids is a line of dolls created by American art student Xavier Roberts in 1978. It was originally called "Little People". The original dolls were all cloth and sold at local craft shows, then later at Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia...

  • Cabbage soup diet
    Cabbage soup diet
    The cabbage soup diet is a radical weight loss diet designed around heavy consumption of a low-calorie cabbage soup over the time of seven days. It is generally considered a fad diet, in that it is designed for short-term weight-loss and requires no long-term commitment...

  • Chinese cabbage
    Chinese cabbage
    Chinese cabbage can refer to two distinct varieties of Chinese leaf vegetables used often in Chinese cuisine. These vegetables are both related to the Western cabbage, and are of the same species as the common turnip...

     resembles cabbage, but is derived from a different species of the same genus
    In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

    , Brassica
    Brassica is a genus of plants in the mustard family . The members of the genus may be collectively known either as cabbages, or as mustards...

  • Kerguelen cabbage
    Kerguelen cabbage
    Pringlea antiscorbutica, commonly known as Kerguelen cabbage, is a flowering plant in the Family Brassicaceae and thus related to cabbage. The species grows on the Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Crozet, Prince Edward, Marion and Kerguelen Islands. These remote islands are at roughly 50º South...

    is the distantly related Pringlea antiscorbutica

External links

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