Brassica oleracea L. var. italica Plenk. (Broccoli)

Crop Type: Garden Crop

Breeding system: Predominantly allogamous

Brassica oleracea L. var. italica Plenk. [also: B. oleracea L. ssp. capitata (L.) DC. convar. botrytis (L.) Alef. var. italica Plenck, Hammer et al. 2013] is an important crop largely cultivated in Europe. The distinct morphologies exhibited by this species represent one of the most significative illustrations of structural evolution in plants under domestication. B. oleracea is a perennial species largely found in Europe and in particular in the Mediterranean basin (Tsunoda et al. 1980). This species is extremely polymorphic and includes at least six cultivated botanical varieties and a wild subspecies. Among the six domesticated botanical varieties, italica (broccoli) is characterised by the evolutionary modification of the inflorescence into a big dense structure (Purugganan et al. 2000). Currently, all broccoli varieties are essentially F1 hybrids. The commercial production (including other Brassica vegetables) is about 71 million t worldwide (FAOSTAT 2019) and 686,000 t (ISTAT 2017) in Italy. In this country however part of the production comes from landraces (Negri et al. 2013; Ciancaleoni et al. 2014). It is an outcrossing crop pollinated by insects.

B. oleracea L. var. italica Plenk. is an outcrossing crop, pollinated by insects.

  • Ciancaleoni S, Raggi L, Negri V (2014) Genetic outcomes from a farmer-assisted landrace selection programme to develop a synthetic variety of broccoli. Plant Genet Resour 12:349–352. doi: 10.1017/S1479262113000592
  • FAOSTAT (2019) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAOSTAT database.
  • Hammer K, Gladis T, Laghetti G, Pignone D (2013) The wild and the grown - Remarks about the botanical classification of Brassica. Acta Hortic 1005:49–60.
  • ISTAT (2017) Coltivazioni Ortive. Accessed 20 Mar 2019
  • Negri V, Pacicco L, Bodesmo M, Torricelli R (2013) The first Italian inventory of in situ maintained landraces. Morlacchi editore
  • Purugganan MD, Boyles AL, Suddith JI (2000) Variation and selection at the CAULIFLOWER floral homeotic gene accompanying the evolution of domesticated Brassica oleracea. Genetics 155:855–862.
  • Tsunoda S, Hirata K, Gomez-Campo C (1980) Brassica Crops and Wild Allies. Japan Scientific Societies Press, Tokyo