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Q: Broccoli--Naturally Occurring Vegetable or Genetic Hybrid? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Broccoli--Naturally Occurring Vegetable or Genetic Hybrid?
Category: Science > Agriculture and Farming
Asked by: geekgyrl-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 22 Jan 2004 10:01 PST
Expires: 21 Feb 2004 10:01 PST
Question ID: 298973
One of the team leaders just announced that broccoli is not a
vegetable that originally occurred in nature. He ~says~ that broccoli
is a hybrid of other vegetables, created for who knows what purpose. I
don't need information about broccoflower. We know that broccoflower
is a broccoli/cauliflower combo. We're looking for the following:
1. Is it true that broccoli was created from a combo of other vegetables?
2. If true, what vegetables/plants/fruits were combined to create it?
3. And also if true, for what purpose was broccoli created?

And finally, if it is true, please provide weblinks so we can provide
documentation when we tell him how wrong he is :D

Many thanks!

Request for Question Clarification by czh-ga on 22 Jan 2004 12:16 PST
Hello geekgyrl-ga,

Broccoli is a member of the Brassicaceae family (also called
Cruciferaceae) and has been used for food for over 2000 years.
Broccoli is a cole crop and can be easily hybridized. My conclusion to
your first question is ?No. Broccoli was not deliberately created from
a combo of other vegetables.?

I?m reluctant to post this as the answer since I?m not sure what you
would accept as proof of this negative conclusion. I can post
information about the history and plant development and cultivation of
broccoli along with facts about it?s relatives and use as a food. The
sources I?ve found are reliable and come from universities and
government agencies.

Will such information meet your needs? I look forward to your clarification.

~ czh ~

Clarification of Question by geekgyrl-ga on 22 Jan 2004 14:09 PST
Hi there :)

I hadnt thought on how sticky it would be to prove a negative
conclusion! My apologies.

Yes, your research on "information about the history and plant
development and cultivation of broccoli along with facts about it?s
relatives and use as a food" would be fabulous. If you could toss in a
few prestigious university and gov links, that would be perfect.

With that depth of info from those kinds of sources, and NO mention of
genetic beginnings, we should have enough info dethrone him (for about
.2 seconds)

Subject: Re: Broccoli--Naturally Occurring Vegetable or Genetic Hybrid?
Answered By: czh-ga on 22 Jan 2004 15:53 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello again geekgyrl-ga,

I?m glad to be able to assist you in your quest for vegetable guru supremacy!

I?ve gathered a selection of authoritative resources to show you that
broccoli has been grown and cultivated for over 2000 years. You can
review the timelines of its spread from Asia Minor to the Romans with
eventual expansion to the rest of Europe and arrival in the United
States early in the 20th century.

Broccoli is considered one of the oldest vegetables in the
Brassicaceae family. Again, instead of listing all the other members
of the family, I?ve included links to help you explore all the
familiar edible plants that are related to this sometimes maligned
vegetable. The background information on broccoli?s taxonomy and
genome shows that it is not a recently developed vegetable.

Broccoli is viewed as a very nutritious vegetable and lots of research
is in progress to evaluate its cancer-preventative and other
beneficial qualities. This may overcome the bad press created by
President HW Bush claiming executive privilege for refusing to eat it.
Maybe the project for creating ?a broccoli chocolate drink? will
finally bring about a broccoli renaissance.

You don?t say who your nemesis is in this contest, but I think my
research will be sufficient to convince him that broccoli is not a
?hybrid of other vegetable, created for who knows what purpose.?

Best wishes for your victory!

~ czh ~
Brassica oleracea var. italica 
Many plants in the Brassicaceae family are important vegetables
worldwide.  Plants from the Brassicaceae family are mostly native to
Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.  All are similar in their cultural
requirements and taxonomic relationships.  The Brassicaceae family was
formerly called Cruciferaceae. There are about 350 genera and 3,000
species in the Brassicaceae and many occur in the north temperate
zone.  All are hardy, cool season crops that are susceptible to the
same insects and diseases.  These plants are annuals, biennials, or
perennial herbs with a pungent or acrid watery juice.

All of the cole crops can be crossed and many of the flowers cannot be
fertilized by their own pollen.  Being self incompatible makes it easy
to make hybrid selections.  Their leaves are simple and alternate
without any stipules.   The inflorescence is in terminal racemes or
corymbs, and the flowers are often perfect with four sepals and
The family includes many vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage,
brussel sprouts, collards, kale and kohlrabi.  There are also some
oilseeds, such as oilseed rape.  Nasturtiums, an ornamental, is also
found in the Brassicaceaes.  Many of the members of the family are
found in the wild. Family members include: (see list)

***** This is a very comprehensive site and will give you a chance to
explore every aspect of broccoli history and evolution.

Names of vegetables
Nomenclature of Brassicas: common name and Latin name

***** These sites will help you review all the related members of the
broccoli?s family.


Ancient Beginnings 
We usually associate the Etruscans with Italy, but these people,
originally called the Rasenna, came from Asia Minor, now Turkey. It
was in this region that the Rasenna began cultivating cabbages, the
precursors to broccoli. These cruciferous vegetables were also grown
along the Eastern Mediterranean. During the 8th century BCE, the
Rasenna began their migration to Italy.

The ancient Rasenna actively traded with the Greeks, Phoenicians,
Sicilians, Corsicans, and Sardinians. No doubt their broccoli
cultivation spread throughout the region and eventually reached Rome
when they settled in what is now known as Tuscany. It was the Romans
who called these immigrants "Tusci" or "Etrusci" and referred to
ancient Tuscany as Etruria.

The Romans were enamored with broccoli almost immediately. Pliny the
Elder, an Italian naturalist and writer, 23 to 79 CE, tells us the
Romans grew and enjoyed broccoli during the first century CE. The
vegetable became a standard favorite in Rome where the variety called
Calabrese was developed. The Calabrese is the most common variety
still eaten in the United States today. Before the Calabrese variety
was cultivated, most Romans were eating purple sprouting broccoli that
turned green when cooked.

***** Lots more on the history and naming of this vegetable.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Broccoli history
Roman references to a cabbage family vegetable that may have been
broccoli are less than perfectly clear: the Roman natural history
writer, Pliny the Elder, wrote about a vegetable which might have been
broccoli. Some vegetable scholars recognize broccoli in the cookbook
of Apicius.

Broccoli was naturalized by the D'Arrigo brothers, Stephano and
Andrea, immigrants from Messina, Italy, whose company made some
tentative plantings in San Jose, California in 1922, and shipped a few
crates to Boston, where there was a thriving Italian immigrant culture
in the North End, ready for a familiar green. The broccoli business
boomed, with the d'Arrigo's brand name 'Andy Boy' named after
Stephano's two-year-old son, Andrew, and backed with advertisements on
the radio. So broccoli arrived in the U.S. in the 1920s as a 'new
vegetable .

Broccoli History ? Past and Present

Food scientists are trying to create good tasting snack foods with
broccoli that will appeal to young people. A broccoli chocolate drink
is being developed. A NYC seventh grader is also working on the
problem. She has come up with such snacks as broccoli peanut butter,
and broccoli trail mix. American scientists have found a way for
people to avoid eating broccoli-and still get the hated vegetable's
powerful cancer-fighting benefits. Most amazing , is the fact that
this new discovery does not come in the form of a pill. It is, simply,
the broccoli sprout.

Presidential Candidates Duck the Crucial Broccoli Question

"I am rebelling against broccoli, and I refuse to give ground. I do
not like broccoli, and I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and
my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States, and
I'm not going to eat any more broccoli."
George Bush on Broccoli
 -- Shortly after becoming president, Mr. Bush declared "No more
broccoli on the White House menu" which infuriated broccoli growers
who sent tons of the vegetable to the White House in a humorous
 -- The stash was given to various food banks in the Washington area 
 -- Broccoli was also forbidden on the Air Force One menu, and the
famous Reagan jelly bean snacks were replace with pork rinds and a hot
sauce dip
"George W." Says Broccoli No Longer Veggie Non Grata

broccoli history
broccoli latin name

Clarification of Answer by czh-ga on 23 Jan 2004 10:40 PST
Hello geekgyrl-ga,

I'm glad you liked the answer and I appreciate your rating and
generous tip. You repeatedly referred to your team and your
competitive spirit. You've aroused my curiosity. What are you up to?

~ czh ~

Request for Answer Clarification by geekgyrl-ga on 23 Jan 2004 12:19 PST
I do software support at a US gov't facility, and things are usually a
little slow for about a month after the holidays. The wee competitive
spirit is curious to me also (I'm new). We're not all friends, but
manage to feel like family!

We've exhausted the ongoing news and pop culture convos, and somehow
moved onto vegetable trivia.

Truly, with a bit of idle time, crafty minds will latch onto anything...

...especially handy online tools that lead to clever people :D


Clarification of Answer by czh-ga on 23 Jan 2004 13:14 PST
Thanks for satisfying my curiosity. Here's a dangerous toy for your
"crafty minds" to latch onto. 

~ czh ~
geekgyrl-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.50
Fabulous! I now know way too much about broccoli, but that could be a good thing...
Of course, having shown him all this, he says that carrots are likely
older and there was every chance genetic hybridization was going on in
8th BC (!) and that he is still kinda right. Ahhh...victory, thy name
is "broccoli"!

(To be sure, he is a great team leader and we wouldn't trade
him...especially because he does us the favor of being dead wrong now
and then :D)

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