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garden vegetable of the same genus of the family Cruciferae (or Brassicaceae; mustardmustard,
common name for the Cruciferae, or Brassicaceae, a large family chiefly of herbs of north temperate regions. The easily distinguished flowers of the Cruciferae have four petals arranged diagonally ("cruciform") and alternating with the four sepals.
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 family) as the cabbage; native to Europe, where it has been long cultivated. The two principal kinds are the white (Brassica rapa) and the yellow (B. napobrassica), which is known as the rutabaga, the Swedish turnip, or the swede. The rutabaga is grown extensively only in Europe, where it is believed to have originated during the Middle Ages as a cross between the white turnip and the cabbage. The turnip is one of the root cropsroot crop,
vegetable cultivated chiefly for its edible roots, e.g., the beet, turnip, mangel-wurzel, carrot, and parsnip. All root crops have a large water content and grow best in deeply cultivated soil in cool, overcast weather when the plant's loss of water through
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 used as a stock feed as well as for human food. The green leaves (greens) are often cooked like spinach. The turnip is a biennial cool-weather crop, grown mostly in cool climates. The worst turnip pests are the root maggot and the flea beetle; it is also attacked by clubroot fungus. Turnips are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Capparales (or Brassicales), family Cruciferae (or Brassicaceae).



(Brassica napus rapifera), a biennial plant of the cabbage genus, mustard family (Cruciferae).

A turnip has a rosette of leaves and a large meaty root (edible) that develop in the sowing year, and a flower-bearing stalk develops in the second year. The fruit is a multiseeded pod, and the seeds are black, small, and spherical. Depending on the variety, the shape of the edible root is rounded, oval, rounded-oval, flat-rounded, rounded-conical, or cylindrical; the color of the skin is yellow or yellowish-white, and the flesh is yellow or white.

The turnip is found in Europe, North America, and North Africa. Both fodder and table turnips are cultivated. In the USSR they are cultivated predominantly in the nonchernozem regions of the European zóne. Vegetation lasts 120 to 130 days. The turnip survives autumn and spring frosts of 6° or 8° C. Loamy soils, rich in organic matter, are best suited to its growth; clayey soils, dried swamps, or peat moss sometimes yield good harvests too. In crop rotation turnips are planted after winter crops, legumes, and intertilled crops. The soil is prepared the same way as for other edible roots and for potatoes. It is sown at the same time as the early grain crops, by the square-bed (60 x 60 cm) or the wide-row (60 cm between rows) method. The sowing rate for the square-bed method is 1.0-1.5 kg/ha, and for the wide-row method 3-4 kg/ha. The seeds are planted at a depth of 1.5-2.5 cm. Turnips are harvested in the second half of September and the beginning of October with sugar-beet-harvesting machines. The yield of edible roots is 500-600 centners/ha. The leaves are ensiled or fed to cattle in fresh form, and the edible roots are stored for the winter in storehouses, trenches, or pits. The chemical composition of the edible roots (in percentages) is: water 87.8, protein 1.2, fat 0.2, cellulose 1.3, nonnitrogen extractive matter 8.8, and ash 0.7. In 100 kg of fodder there are 13 fodder units and 0.9 kg of digestible protein. In the USSR, the regional varieties of turnips are fodder turnips—Vyshegorod local, Vyshegorod improved, Dotnuvos baltei, Swedish, Hoffmann, Krasnosel’sk local, Siberian fodder, Kuusiky, and Pskov local; and table turnips—Krasnosel’sk local and Dzeltenie abolu local.


Kharchenko, V. A., and A. I. Vytchikov. Kormovye korneplody, 11th ed. Moscow, 1951.
Spravochnik po kormoproizvodstvu. Moscow, 1961.




(Brassica rapa), a biennial vegetable plant of the family Cruciferae. In the first season the plant forms a rosette of dissected leaves and a fleshy root; in the second season it produces flower-bearing shoots, which yield seeds. The inflorescence is corymbose. The petals are golden yellow in yellow-fleshed turnip varieties and lemon yellow in white-fleshed varieties. The fruit is a long, dehiscent pod, with small, round seeds ranging in color from light to dark brown. The turnip is a cold-resistant (it can tolerate night frosts to 5°C), hydrophilic, and moderately heat-resistant plant. The optimum temperature for growth and development is 12°-20°C. The vegetative period is short, lasting from 60 to 85 days. Yields range from 150 to 350 quintals per hectare (ha).

The roots contain from 8.5 to 16.9 percent dry matter, half of which is sugar. They also contain vitamin C (22–73 mg percent), vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and carotene. The presence of mustard oil gives the turnip its distinctive smell and taste. Turnips are eaten fresh, boiled, and roasted. They are particularly important as food in the northern and high mountain regions of the world, where other vegetable crops grow poorly or not at all owing to the cold climate. The best varieties raised in the USSR include Petrovskaia 1, which is a flat root with yellow flesh; Maiskaia Zheltaia Zelenogolovaia 172, which is a flat root with light yellow flesh; and Milanskaia Belaia Krasnogolovaia, which is a flat root with white flesh.

The most suitable soils for cultivating turnips are sandy loams and loams having a neutral or weakly acidic pH value. Turnips can tolerate increased soil acidity. In crop rotation, turnips are planted after crops treated with organic fertilizers. The seeds are generally sown in the spring; to produce turnips for winter use sowing is done in the summer. Care of the crops includes topdressing with phosphorus and potassium fertilizers at a rate of 10–15 kg of active matter per ha. The soil must be cultivated, and the plants should be thinned so that they are 6–8 cm apart. The plantings must be weeded and watered, and crop pests and diseases must be controlled. The roots are harvested before the first night frosts.


See references under RAPHANUS.




(Brassica rapa rapifera), a biennial plant of the family Crucifera. In the first year the turnip plant develops large fleshy roots and a rosette of radical leaves. Roots set out in the second year develop stems, inflorescences, and seeded fruits. The roots are cylindrical, oval, or spherical in shape and white, violet, or yellow in color.

Turnips are found only in culture in major agricultural regions. The most extensive plantings are in the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, Denmark, Great Britain, the USA, Canada, and Australia. In the USSR the turnip is raised mainly in the nonchernozem zone. The plant is often grown as animal feed. The roots contain 7–8 percent dry matter; 100 kg contain about 9 feed units and about 0.7 kg of digestible protein. The roots are used as feed for all types of farm animals; the green parts are ensiled. Animals are sometimes allowed to graze in turnip fields: first cattle eat the leaves and the above-ground parts of the roots; then pigs dig out the rest of the roots.

Turnips grow well on clayey-loam and sandy-loam sod-pod-zolic soils. They are planted in feed-vegetable and field crop rotations and in rotations used on livestock-raising farms; on soddy-alluvial soils meadow-grazing rotation is used. Planting is done in late May or early June; a second crop is sometimes planted in the summer. Manure, composts, and inorganic fertilizers are applied before planting. The seeds are sown at a rate of 2.3–3.5 kg per hectare and at a depth of 1.5–2.5 cm. The rows are spaced 47–60 cm apart. Care of the plantings includes thinning the plants 18–20 cm apart, loosening the interrow areas, weeding, and the application of fertilizer.

The most common variety in the USSR is the Osterzundom-skii, whose long cone-shaped root is white on the lower part and violet with a tinge of green on the upper part. Other varieties include the Moskovskii and the Volynskii. The yield of roots is 400–500 quintals per hectare. The roots are stored in storehouses, pits, or trenches. Pests of the turnip plant include turnip flea beetles and the cabbage aphid; a common disease is clubroot.


Spravochnik po kormoproizvodstvu. Moscow, 1973.


Brassica rapa or B. campestris var. rapa. An annual crucifer of Asiatic origin belonging to the family Brassiaceae in the order Capparales and grown for its foliage and edible root.


1. a widely cultivated plant, Brassica rapa, of the Mediterranean region, with a large yellow or white edible root: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)
2. the root of this plant, which is eaten as a vegetable
3. any of several similar or related plants
4. another name for kohlrabi