Friday, February 19, 2010

Plant Profile: Radish

By Nina Berryman

Raphanus sativus is yet another vegetable we grow that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. As with many vegetables, its classification is not simple. The small varieties that you are eating now are part of the Radiculata Group. The Longipinnatus Group includes the long, white daikon varieties that you will see soon, and the Caudatus Group contains a type called Rat Tail that is grown for its seed pods that can grow 12” long and are used in curries and as pickles.

Radishes rarely get the spotlight and are often considered one of the less popular, ordinary vegetables. However, this has not always been the case! In ancient Egypt pictures of radishes were inscribed on pyramid walls. In ancient Greece radishes made of gold were made as offerings to the god Apollo. They are believed to be native to the eastern Mediterranean and have been identified in artwork from 2000 B.C.

Source: Ashworth, Susan, Seed to Seed. Seed Savers Exchange Inc. Iowa. 2002.

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