Carew, H. John Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
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A cool-season annual or biennial crucifer, Raphanus sativus, of Chinese origin, belonging to the plant order Capparales. The radish (see illustration) is grown for its thickened hypocotyl, which is eaten uncooked as a salad vegetable. Propagation is by seed. Varieties (cultivars) are classified according to root shape and season or time of maturity. Colors include red, yellow, white, black, pink, and red-white combinations. Popular varieties include the following types: Early Scarlet Globe and Comet are short-season varieties (21–25 days); Crimson Giant is a medium-season variety (30–50 days); and Black Spanish is a long-season or winter variety (50–70 days). Commercial production, largely of the round red short-season varieties, is primarily in the field, but radishes also are produced commercially in greenhouses. Harvesting by hand or machine begins when roots are approximately 13–25 mm (0.5–1 in.) in diameter, often only 21–23 days after planting. See also: Capparales; Horticultural crops
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