Cruciferae Brassica oleracea L. (Botrytis group)
Source: Magness et al. 1971
Cauliflower is grown for the edible, partially developed, multiple flower head. For food, the plant is grown as an annual and is usually seeded in beds, then transplanted to the field at 4 to 5 weeks of age. It develops large basal leaves which surround but do not completely cover the head which is borne terminally on the stem. Since a white head is desired it is necessary to blanch the bead by bringing the large outer leaves up over it and fastening them with twine or rubber bands. This is done 3 to 10 days before harvest, depending on prevailing temperatures. Some kinds have sufficient leaf cover to make tying unnecessary. Heads are harvested while still compact, white and firm.
Production in U.S.: 125,000 tons.
Use: Fresh, frozen, mostly as pot vegetable, some as salad or pickles.
Part of plant consumed: Underdeveloped flower head, consisting of succulent stems and flower initials.