Collards x Turnip Cross?

nwl_meSeptember 17, 2006

Hi everyone.

I noticed a plant growing in the weeds behind my compost heap that looks sort of like a collard plant, but has an obvious large white root sticking out of the soil like a turnip. The leaves are light green with white ribs, slightly hairy, about 2 feet long and spear shaped and taste like collards with a hint of turnip green bitterness.

I grow both collards and turnips in my garden and have wild black mustard that grows just about everywhere else as a weed. Those are the only brassicas around, I believe.

The collards that I grow are blue-green in color and do not have a main tap root, and the turnips have small light green leaves with lots of large hairs and make small egg-sized roots.

I was thinking that maybe the collards and turnips crossed somehow. Might this be possible? Or maybe this is something wild that I've never seen before? Any thoughts?


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membertom(zone 6)

I don't know for sure what the local wild Brassica is here in Maryland; I've always called it "Mustard". But it often does get a very turnip-like root when it's happy. I've seen them several inches across.
Maybe that's what you're seeing too??

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 8:26AM
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I guess that it might be mustard, though I doubt it. It doesn't look or taste like it at all. I described it to a friend and he said that it sounded sort of like a rutabaga. I haven't grown rutabagas for some 20 odd years or so as no one in my family likes them. Maybe I've forgotten what rutabagas look like, as the leaves don't look like I remember. Eaither way, I'll probably overwinter the plant in a pot in my root cellar and see if it makes seeds next year. Who knows, maybe it'll be a keeper.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 2:56PM
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mustard and collards can't cross.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 8:09AM
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I have heard that all members of Brassica (the cabbage family ) can crossbreed and produce fertile offspring ! These include :
Kale , cabbage, bokchoy, kholrabi, kholbaga , turnip , rhutabaga ,cauliflower, brocolli, collards,rape,( and yes mustard ). Rhutabagas have a thick stem that grows over 6 inches high . Try crossing collards with cabbage to make a cabbage that would not smell.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 11:23AM
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I forgot brussel sprouts they are a member of the cabbage family too and there may be others I have ommitted .

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 10:14AM
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earthmanjack(Zone 7-6 Berks/Mont PA)

Yes, a cabbage turnip cross is possible but not common. That's what a rutabaga is  Brassica napobrassica. The cabbage family (B. oleracea) includes cabbage, collards, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kohlrabi, plus the Asian gai lohn. The turnip family ( B. napa) includes mustard, broccoli raab, turnips, and all of the "Asian cabbage" family, except for Gai Lohn, aka Chinese broccoli.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 9:16AM
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You can get a variety of 'cross species' crosses in the Brassica and some of the more interesting types are a direct result of one of the various '3 way' interspecific crosses possible. I've attached a link to a chart that shows them.

B. Juncea (Mustard Greens) are a result of a cross of B. Nigra (black mustard) with B. Rapa (turnips, field mustard, turnip mustard).

B. Napus (rhutabaga, rapeseed)a cross of B. Rapa with B. Olerica (cabagges, kales, broccoli, etc. as above.

B. Carinata (Abyssinian Mustard) a cross of B. Olerica and B. Nigra.

Who knows what other crosses they have had. The Brassicas are a bit "loose" with their genes... ;-)

So while I'd guess what you have is a wild "turnip mustard" it could just as easily be a strange cross...

You had turnips (B. Rapa) and a collard (B. Olerica) so if they crossed you could easily have gotten a new variety of Rhutabaga.

I'd trial it and see if it was any good. Pretty much all the candidates are edible in one way or another...

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 3:19PM
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keking(z6 TN)

I'm linking to an illustrated article on various Brassica hybrids. The plants called "couve" in the article are what we call collards.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sutton: Brassica Hybrids (1908)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 10:03AM
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