Cruciferae Brassica oleracea L. (Capitata group)
Source: Magness et al. 1971
The cabbage plant, except for seed production, is grown as an annual. Plants are usually started in beds, then set in the field 30 to 40 days after seeding. Basal leaves become large up to a foot or more long and wide and spreading. Later the "head" consisting of the "core" or stem terminal, and densely packed leaves develops. This increases in size by growth of inside leaves. The outermost leaves spread away from the head. Outermost leaves that encircle the head and adhere closely to it are rather coarse and are usually removed in preparing for eating, so the part consumed is largely protected during growth by enveloping leaves which are not consumed. Heads at harvest vary from 5 to 12 or more inches diameter and in shape from conic to oblate.
Production in U.S.: Commercial 1,300,000 tons, of which about 1,000,000 tons is marketed fresh and 200,000 tons is made into sauerkraut.
Use: As pot herb, salad, sauerkraut.
Part of plant consumed: Compact inner leaves. Core and outer leaves generally discarded. Outer leaves after removal from bead may be fed to livestock.