Cruciferae Brassica oleracea L. (Italica group)
Source: Magness et al. 1971
The broccoli plant is a strong growing, upright annual, up to 3 feet in height, with large spreading leaves. The edible portion of commerce is the flower heads, cut when the buds are relatively small and green. The central head may be 3 to 6 inches across and rather flat, and is ready for harvest first. It is cut with 6 to 8 inches of the thick, tender stem. Later lateral stems and flower heads grow from leaf axils. These heads are generally 1 to 3 inches across, and are also cut with stems. Plants may continue to produce from laterals for several weeks.
Production in U.S.: Commercial, 125,000 tons.
Use: Fresh market, frozen. Generally cooked, but limited use as raw salad ingredient.
Part of plant consumed: Green flower head and adjoining tender stem.