Carew, H. John Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Last reviewed:December 2019
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A cool-season biennial crucifer, Brassica oleracea var. botrytis, of Mediterranean origin. Cauliflower belongs to the plant order Capparales. It is grown for its white head or curd, a tight mass of flower stalks, which terminates the main stem (see illustration). Cauliflower is commonly cooked fresh as a vegetable; to a lesser extent, it is frozen or pickled and consumed as a relish. Cultural practices are similar to those for cabbage; however, cauliflower is more sensitive to unfavorable environmental conditions. Strains of the variety (cultivar) Snowball are most popular; purple-headed varieties are less common. Cauliflower is slightly tolerant of acid soils and has high requirements for boron and molybdenum. A cool, moist climate promotes high quality. Harvest is generally 3–4 months after planting. California and New York are important cauliflower-producing states. See also: Cabbage; Capparales; Horticultural crops
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