Brassica: autumn gems
Brassica is a typical autumn product. In summer its leaves are an unassuming green but as soon as there is a touch of autumn in the air, Brassica shows its true colours. It begins slowly, with just a blush of pink in the centre but the colour soon spreads over the entire head. Brassicas come in white as well as the familiar pink and purple.
The Cabbage family
Brassica is the Latin for cabbage. In actual fact, ornamental cabbage is a vegetable rather than a flower and it owes its decorative value to its neat rosette shaped head. The head is harvested before the plant has a chance to sprout. Ornamental cabbage is a member of the family of Cruciferae, which includes all the familiar cabbage varieties such as red cabbage, curly kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. In the wild Brassica grows on the rocky cliffs of the Atlantic coast and in the Mediterranean region. Consequently it is a strong plant and can grow even in severe conditions.
Brassica is also a tough guy when used as a cut flower. For example, cold is never a problem. This means that Brassica can be used in bouquets and decorations out of doors. However, it should never be exposed to full sunlight. There is no need to remove any leaves as the grower will have removed them from the first 20 cm below the head at the nursery. The stems may be dehydrated, so it makes sense to cut a good chunk off the ends.
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