Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera

Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera

Brussels sprouts or sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. Gemmifera) are a variety of Brassica oleracea and therefore belong to the Brassicaceae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view, it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Plantae Kingdom, Subregion Tracheobionta, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Capparales Order, Brassicaceae Family and therefore to the Genus Brassica, to the Species B. oleracea and to the Variety B. o. gemmifera.

Etymology –
The term Brassica comes from brassica, the Latin name of the cabbage described by several authors, attested in the literature starting from Plautus (III-II century BC). The origin of this name is uncertain and has been traced back to Greek or Celtic voices, without totally convincing evidence. Several etymological texts refer to the word Βράσκη braske, according to Hesychius used by the Italics in Magna Grecia to indicate cabbage.
The specific epithet oleracea comes from ólus óleris vegetable: used as a vegetable.
The name gemmifera comes from gémma bud, bud and fero bring: which produces buds or buds.

Geographical Distribution and Habitat –
Brussels sprouts Brussels sprouts are a plant of northern European origin, widespread especially in the Scandinavian countries and in Benelux, in fact they take their name from the capital of Belgium where it seems this curious variety of cabbage has been selected, which is still under-cultivated in Italy.

Description –
Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera is a biennial plant that generally forms a rosette of leaves during the first year of life. The second year, a more or less high inflorescence is formed which bears numerous yellow four-petal flowers.
This variety differs from its genus in that Brussels sprouts develop a stem even one meter high, where at the base of the cells spherical axillary lumps are formed which are precisely the sprouts which are then collected and cooked. A plant produces on average 30 to 40 shoots.

Cultivation –
For its cultivation, this plant, being of northern origin, loves cool climates, with summers that are not too arid and hot, even if it does not bear too harsh winters in Europe it is often cultivated in a greenhouse.
In general, the sprouts plant has a four-month cycle. The collection of Brussels sprouts is scaled, takes place once a year and generally lasts two weeks. The early varieties can begin to bear fruit in August while if you take later sprouts you can also pick them in December (temperatures permitting). A short frost improves the flavor of this vegetable. The flower heads are collected when they reach at least three cm in diameter, so that they are crisp and tender together.
For the details of the cultivation technique, see the following sheet.

Uses and Traditions –
Brussels sprouts are a very interesting vegetable to grow in the garden, as they are good in production and have a flavor similar to the cap but on a miniaturized scale, with heads around three centimeters in diameter.
The edible part is made up of the axillary shoots of the plant. Globular in shape, they grow at the base of the main leaves and consist of hawksbill leaflets (one covering one or two underlying, such as artichokes). The habit of this plant is reminiscent of Tuscan black cabbage and the culture is very similar.

Method of Preparation –
Brussels sprouts are not eaten raw, they are an excellent side dish that can be made in a pan, boiled or baked au gratin.
Normally they are eaten steamed and then spread with a little butter. Sometimes lemon is added.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for information purposes only, they do not in any way represent a medical prescription; therefore, no responsibility is accepted for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.



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