Common names (selected) English: bird’s rape, birdsrape mustard, broccoli raab, Chinese cabbage, colbaga, common mustard, field mustard, forage turnip, Italian kale, mibuna greens, mizuna, mizuna mustard, rape mustard, rapini, seven-top turnip, summer turnip, toria, turnip, tyfon, white turnip, wild mustard, wild rutabaga, wild turnip, yellow sarson; Chinese: 蔓菁; French: navet, navette; Portuguese: nabo-ordinario, nabo-peludo, nabo-redondo; Spanish: nabo
Description: Annual or Biennial. Grows up to 48 inches tall. Leaf margins are irregular and wavy and grow in a basal rosette on ground, radiating from a single point.
Native regions and distribution: Native region is thought to be Europe, Africa, and tropical Asia although this is unclear because the plant is widely cultivated. It is found around the world in temperate and tropical regions, including all of North and South America, Greenland, Australia, and Asia.
Urban habitat: Commonly found in disturbed areas, along roadsides, ditches, and cultivated fields. Highly adaptable that can grow in a wide range of soil types.
Ecological function: Disturbance-adapted colonizer. Food and habitat for wildlife.
History / human uses: B. rapa leaves, stems and seeds have medicinal properties, sometimes used in the treatment of breast and skin cancers or externally on burns. It is also sometimes used as forage crop for livestock. Its root contains a natural insecticide which are used to repel aphids, spider mites and flies. B. rapa is edible and its leaves has been cultivated and used by many cultures raw as a spring green or cooked. Its root is used like a turnip. Even though not native to North America, several First Nation and Native American tribes consumed its roots and leaves as a vegetable. There are numerous sub-species of the plant cultivated around the world, each with its own set of common names.