AskDefine | Define colewort

Dictionary Definition

colewort n : a hardy cabbage with coarse curly leaves that do not form a head [syn: kale, kail, cole, borecole, Brassica oleracea acephala]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. An alternative word for kale.

See also

Extensive Definition

Brassica oleracea or Wild Mustard, is a species of Brassica native to coastal southern and western Europe, where its tolerance of salt and lime but intolerance of competition from other plants typically restricts its natural occurrence to limestone sea cliffs.
Wild B. olearacea is a tall biennial plant, forming a stout rosette of large leaves in the first year, the leaves being fleshier and thicker than those of other species of Brassica, adaptations to store water and nutrients in its difficult growing environment. In its second year, the stored nutrients are used to produce a flower spike 1–2 m tall bearing numerous yellow flowers.

Cultivation and uses

Although B. oleracea is believed to have been cultivated for several thousand years, its history as a domesticated plant is not clear before Greek and Roman times, when is known to be a well-established garden vegetable. Theophrastus mentions three kinds of this species: a curly-leaved, a smooth-leaved, and a wild-type. It has been bred into a wide range of cultivars, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and more, some of which are hardly recognisable as being members of the same genus. The historical genus of crucifera, meaning four-petalled flower, may be the only uniting feature beyond taste. It is one of the most important human food crop plants. According to the Triangle of U theory, B. oleracea is very closely related to five other species of the genus Brassica.
The plant is used because of its large food reserves, which are stored over the winter in its leaves. It is rich in essential nutrients including vitamin C.
The cultivars of B. oleracea are grouped by developmental form into seven major cultivar groups, of which the Acephala Group remains most like the natural Wild Cabbage in appearance:
Some (notably brussels sprouts and broccoli) contain high levels of sinigrin which is thought to help prevent bowel cancer.
For other edible plants in the family Brassicaceae, see cruciferous vegetables.


colewort in Min Nan: Brassica oleracea
colewort in Catalan: Col
colewort in Czech: Brukev zelná
colewort in Danish: Have-Kål
colewort in German: Gemüsekohl
colewort in Spanish: Brassica oleracea
colewort in French: Chou commun
colewort in Korean: 브라시카 올레라케아
colewort in Croatian: Kupus
colewort in Indonesian: Brassica oleracea
colewort in Ossetian: Къабуска
colewort in Italian: Brassica oleracea
colewort in Haitian: Chou
colewort in Lithuanian: Kopūstas
colewort in Hungarian: Brassica oleracea
colewort in Dutch: Kool (plant)
colewort in Japanese: ハボタン
colewort in Polish: Kapusta warzywna
colewort in Portuguese: Couve
colewort in Quechua: Kulis
colewort in Russian: Капуста белокочанная
colewort in Slovak: Kapusta obyčajná
colewort in Serbian: Дивљи купус
colewort in Finnish: Kaali
colewort in Swedish: Kål (art)
colewort in Vietnamese: Cải bắp dại
colewort in Walloon: Cabu
colewort in Chinese: 甘藍
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