T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Brassica rapa (Wild Turnip)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids 
Order: Brassicales 
Family: Brassicaceae 
Genus: Brassica 
Species: B rapa
Scientific name: Brassica rapa 
Common name: Wild turnip

Wild Turnip is a member of the Brassicaceae family - which gives us many of our cultivated vegetables and condiments such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, bok choi, radishes, turnips, cress, horseradish, wasabi, mustard, and the list goes on.
This Brassicaceae family (also called the mustard family or the cabbage family) is recognised by its four-petalled leaves with six stamens. They have flower heads that look like little broccoli heads when budding. Most wild Brassicaceae are edible - but avoid gathering them from places that may have been heavily fertilised or be subject to run-off, as the plant absorbs and retains nitrates - toxic in high doses. The vegetative stage of wild turnip is a rosette, this means the growing point is at ground level, and leaves radiate out from this growing point. Leaves on the rosette are covered with bristly hairs. When wild turnip flowers, a tall upright flower stem forms, and leaves present near the top of this flower stem are quite smooth, lacking the bristly hairs of rosette leaves. A similar weed, wild radish, has bristly leaves over all the flowering plant. Bright yellow flowers form at the ends of the branched stems, and flowers later form pods. The formation of pods is typical of plants in the Brassicaceae family. The root system of wild turnip swells with age, forming a storage organ similar to the crop species turnip, but much smaller than turnips.

Lower leaf