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Wild Cabbage

Brassica oleracea

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 Candytuft, Wild Radish, Wild Turnip, Wintercress, Woad, Yellow Whitlowgrass
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Cliffs, gardens, grassland, roadsides, sea cliffs, seaside.

Yellow, 4 petals
The inflorescence is a long spike of pale yellow flowers. Pollinated by bees.
The fruit is a long-beaked, cylindrical pod. The seeds ripen from July to September.
A biennial or perennial plant which is woody at the base. The greyish-green, waxy leaves are similar in appearance to a cultivated cabbage. The leaves clasp their stems.
Other Names:
Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohlrabi, Savoy Cabbage, Sprouting Broccoli, Tronchuda Cabbage.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Brassica oleracea is a species of plant that belongs to the cabbage family. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is widely cultivated for its edible leaves, stem, and roots. There are many different cultivars of Brassica oleracea, which are grouped into six main categories based on the part of the plant that is eaten: kale, collard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Each cultivar has unique characteristics, such as the shape and color of the plant and the flavor of the edible parts. Brassica oleracea is a popular vegetable that is high in nutrients and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. It is commonly consumed cooked or raw, and is often used in salads, soups, and stir-fries.


Wild Cabbage: A Versatile Vegetable with a Rich History

Wild Cabbage, also known as Brassica oleracea, is a hardy, leafy vegetable that is believed to have originated in the coastal regions of the Mediterranean. Despite its name, it is not related to the common head cabbage, but rather is the ancestor of many popular vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

Over time, different varieties of Brassica oleracea have been developed through selective breeding for specific traits, leading to the wide range of cabbage-like vegetables that are enjoyed today. Wild cabbage, however, remains an important food source in many parts of the world, especially in coastal regions where it still grows wild.

In addition to its nutritional value, wild cabbage has a rich history that spans thousands of years. In ancient Greece, it was believed to have medicinal properties and was used to treat a variety of ailments. The Roman army is said to have included wild cabbage in their rations, as it was believed to provide strength and endurance to soldiers.

Despite its historical importance, wild cabbage is not widely cultivated or consumed in many parts of the world. However, this is starting to change as people become more interested in traditional and wild foods, and as awareness grows about the health benefits of this versatile vegetable.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Wild Cabbage

Wild cabbage is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and contains antioxidants that can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Studies have shown that consuming wild cabbage may have a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, improving heart health, and supporting digestive health. It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great choice for those with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Cooking with Wild Cabbage

Wild cabbage has a slightly bitter taste that is often compared to that of other leafy greens like kale or collard greens. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and is often used in soups, stews, and sautés. It can also be fermented to make traditional dishes like sauerkraut.

One of the great things about wild cabbage is its versatility, as it can be used in a variety of dishes to add flavor and nutrition. It pairs well with strong flavors like garlic, ginger, and cumin, and is a great way to add leafy greens to your diet.

Wild cabbage, Brassica oleracea, is a nutritious and versatile vegetable that has a rich history and a range of health benefits. Whether you are looking to add more leafy greens to your diet, or simply enjoy the taste and flavor of this traditional food, wild cabbage is a great choice.

More Information

In addition to its culinary uses, wild cabbage has also been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. In traditional medicine, it has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including digestive problems, skin conditions, and respiratory issues. It has been used both internally and externally, with extracts and poultices made from the leaves and stems of the plant.

The high levels of vitamin C in wild cabbage also make it a great choice for boosting the immune system. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, and is essential for the growth and repair of tissues in the body. It also helps the body absorb iron from plant-based foods, making it a great choice for vegetarians and vegans.

When choosing wild cabbage, look for leaves that are firm and bright green, with no signs of wilting or yellowing. Store wild cabbage in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper towel, for up to a week. To prepare wild cabbage, simply wash the leaves and chop them into desired size. It can be added to soups and stews, sautéed as a side dish, or added to smoothies for a nutritious boost.

Wild cabbage is a nutritious and flavorful vegetable that is often overlooked, but deserves to be celebrated for its versatility and health benefits. Whether you are looking for a nutritious addition to your diet, or simply a new vegetable to experiment with in the kitchen, wild cabbage is definitely worth considering.

Another way to enjoy wild cabbage is to pickle it. Pickling is a great way to preserve the flavor and nutrients of the vegetable, and adds a tangy, crunchy texture to dishes. To pickle wild cabbage, simply combine it with vinegar, salt, and spices and let it sit in the mixture for several days. The result is a delicious, tangy pickled cabbage that can be used as a condiment or added to salads and sandwiches for a burst of flavor.

In addition to its nutritional benefits, wild cabbage is also a great choice for those looking for a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly food option. Unlike many other crops, wild cabbage can grow in a variety of climates and conditions, making it a hardy and resilient crop. It also requires minimal inputs in terms of fertilizer and water, making it a low-impact choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Finally, wild cabbage is a great food for people of all ages and dietary needs. It is gluten-free and low in calories, making it a great choice for those watching their weight. It is also a good source of fiber, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied.

In conclusion, wild cabbage is a nutritious and flavorful vegetable that is often overlooked, but deserves to be celebrated for its versatility, health benefits, and environmental sustainability. Whether you are looking for a new vegetable to try, or simply want to add more nutrition to your diet, wild cabbage is definitely worth considering.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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