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Wild Turnip

Brassica rapa campestris

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Brassicaceae (Cabbage)
Also in this family:
Alpine Pennycress, Alpine Rock-cress, American Wintercress, Annual Wall Rocket, Austrian Yellowcress, Awlwort, Bastard Cabbage, Black Mustard, Bristol Rock-cress, Charlock, Common Scurvygrass, Common Whitlowgrass, Coralroot, Creeping Yellowcress, Cuckooflower, Dame's-violet, Danish Scurvygrass, Dittander, Early Wintercress, Eastern Rocket, English Scurvygrass, Evergreen Candytuft, False London Rocket, Field Pennycress, Field Pepperwort, Flixweed, Garden Arabis, Garden Candytuft, Garden Cress, Garden Radish, Garden Rocket, Garlic Mustard, Glabrous Whitlowgrass, Gold of Pleasure, Great Yellowcress, Greater Cuckooflower, Greater Periwinkle, Greater Swinecress, Hairy Bittercress, Hairy Rock-cress, Hairy Rocket, Hairy Whitlowgrass, Hedge Mustard, Hoary Cress, Hoary Mustard, Hoary Stock, Hoary Whitlowgrass, Honesty, Horseradish, Hutchinsia, Hybrid Watercress, Intermediate Periwinkle, Isle of Man Cabbage, Large Bittercress, Lesser Swinecress, London Rocket, Lundy Cabbage, Marsh Yellowcress, Mountain Scurvygrass, Narrow-fruited Watercress, Narrow-leaved Bittercress, Narrow-leaved Pepperwort, Northern Rock-cress, Northern Yellowcress, Oilseed Rape, Perennial Rocket, Perennial Wall Rocket, Perfoliate Pennycress, Pinnate Coralroot, Purple Rock-cress, Pyrenean Scurvygrass, Rock Whitlowgrass, Russian Rocket, Scottish Scurvygrass, Sea Kale, Sea Radish, Sea Rocket, Sea Stock, Shepherd's Cress, Shepherd's Purse, Small-flowered Wintercress, Smith's Pepperwort, Steppe Cabbage, Swede, Sweet Alyssum, Tall Rocket, Thale Cress, Tower Mustard, Treacle Mustard, Trefoil Cress, Turnip, Wall Whitlowgrass, Wallflower, Wallflower Cabbage, Warty Cabbage, Watercress, Wavy Bittercress, White Mustard, Wild Cabbage, Wild Candytuft, Wild Radish, Wintercress, Woad, Yellow Whitlowgrass
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Fields, riverbanks, roadsides, wasteland, waterside.

Yellow, 4 petals
Smaller flowers than the very similar looking Oil-seed Rape (Brassica napus). Pollinated by bees.
An annual plant with alternate, bluish-green leaves. Lower leaves are stalked; upper leaves are stalkless.
Other Names:
Field Mustard, Turnip Rape.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Brassica rapa campestris is a subspecies of the species Brassica rapa, which is commonly known as field mustard or wild turnip. It is a flowering plant in the mustard family (Brassicaceae), and is native to Europe and Asia. The plant is often used as a vegetable and forage crop, and its leaves and stems are edible. It is also sometimes used as a cover crop to improve soil health.


Wild Turnip, also known as Brassica rapa campestris, is a member of the Brassicaceae family. It is a hardy and nutritious wild vegetable that grows in the fields and meadows of Europe and Asia. Wild Turnip has a long history of being used as a food source by rural populations and has recently gained popularity among foragers and health-conscious individuals. In this blog, we will explore the history, nutrition, and culinary uses of Wild Turnip.

History of Wild Turnip

Wild Turnip has been consumed for thousands of years, dating back to prehistoric times. It was a staple food for rural populations in Europe and Asia and was used to combat hunger and malnutrition. With the advent of agriculture and the domestication of crops, the popularity of Wild Turnip declined, and it became a less important food source. However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in wild and foraged foods, and Wild Turnip has once again become popular.

Nutrition of Wild Turnip

Wild Turnip is a highly nutritious vegetable that is low in calories and high in fiber. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. Additionally, Wild Turnip contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, making it a healthy food option for individuals who are looking to improve their overall health.

Culinary Uses of Wild Turnip

Wild Turnip has a distinctive and slightly bitter flavor, making it a unique ingredient in the kitchen. It can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, and stir-fries. The leaves and stems of the plant can also be eaten raw or cooked, making them a versatile ingredient. One popular way to prepare Wild Turnip is to sauté it with garlic and olive oil, which enhances its natural flavor.

More Information

Wild Turnip is also a hardy plant that can thrive in a variety of growing conditions, making it a valuable food source for those who live in areas with harsh climates. Unlike many domesticated crops, Wild Turnip can grow in areas with poor soil and limited water, making it a resilient option for those looking to grow their own food.

Another important aspect of Wild Turnip is its sustainability. As more and more people are becoming aware of the environmental impact of their food choices, wild and foraged foods are becoming an increasingly popular option. Wild Turnip grows naturally and does not require the use of pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, making it an environmentally friendly food choice.

In addition to its nutritional and environmental benefits, Wild Turnip also has cultural significance. In some cultures, it is considered a symbol of good luck and is used in traditional dishes during special occasions. For example, in some parts of Europe, Wild Turnip is used in a traditional Christmas soup called "Turnip Soup," which is thought to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year.

It's worth mentioning that Wild Turnip should be harvested and consumed with care, as it is often found growing in areas where it could be contaminated by pollutants. It is important to only consume Wild Turnip from areas that are known to be free from pollution and to properly wash the vegetable before consumption. Additionally, when foraging for Wild Turnip, it's important to only harvest from areas where it is abundant and to never take more than you need, in order to ensure the sustainability of the plant population.

Another important aspect of Wild Turnip is its versatility in the kitchen. It can be used in a wide range of dishes, both sweet and savory. For example, Wild Turnip can be added to salads, soups, and stews, and it can also be used as a substitute for other root vegetables in recipes. Additionally, the leaves of Wild Turnip can be used as a substitute for spinach or other leafy greens in many dishes.

In terms of storage, Wild Turnip can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, making it a convenient food option for those who are looking to save time in the kitchen. It can also be dried or frozen for longer-term storage, ensuring that you always have a supply of this nutritious vegetable on hand.

In conclusion, Wild Turnip is a highly valuable food option that offers numerous health, environmental, and culinary benefits. Whether you are looking to improve your health, live sustainably, or simply want to try a new ingredient in the kitchen, Wild Turnip is a vegetable that should not be overlooked.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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