Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Brassica rapa
(field mustard)

Vélez-Gavilán J, 2018. Brassica rapa (field mustard). Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CABI. DOI:10.1079/ISC.121115.20203483463

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Datasheet

Brassica rapa (field mustard)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 09 March 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Brassica rapa
  • Preferred Common Name
  • field mustard
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Brassica rapa is an annual to biennial herb that is widely cultivated as a vegetable or oilseed crop. It has escaped and become weedy or invasive in cultivated fields and disturbed areas. In Oceania it is listed as an invasive in Australi...

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    Compendia
    CAB International
    Wallingford
    Oxfordshire
    OX10 8DE
    UK
    compend@cabi.org
  • Distribution map More information

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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Brassica rapa L.

Preferred Common Name

  • field mustard

Other Scientific Names

  • Barbarea derchiensis S.S.Ying
  • Brassica antiquorum H.Lév
  • Brassica asperifolia Lam.
  • Brassica brassicata A.Chev.
  • Brassica briggsii Varenne
  • Brassica campestris L.
  • Brassica celerifolia (Tsen & S.H. Lee) Y.Z.Land & T.Y.Cheo
  • Brassica chinensis L.
  • Brassica cibaria Dierb.
  • Brassica colza H.Lév.
  • Brassica cyrenaica Spreng.
  • Brassica dubiosa L.H.Bailey
  • Brassica macrorhiza Gray
  • Brassica napella Chaix
  • Brassica narinosa L.H.Bailey
  • Brassica nipposinica L.H.Bailey
  • Brassica oleronensis A.Sav. ex Foucaud
  • Brassica parachinensis L.H.Bailey
  • Brassica pekinensis (Lour.) Rupr.
  • Brassica pekinensis Skeels
  • Brassica perfoliata Crantz
  • Brassica perviridis (L.H.Bailey) L.H.Bailey
  • Brassica petsai (Lour.) L.H.Bailey
  • Brassica pseudocolza H.Lév
  • Brassica purpuraria (L.H.Bailey) L.H.Bailey
  • Brassica quadrivalvis Hook.f. & Thomson
  • Brassica rapifera (Metzg.) Dalla Torre & Sarnth.
  • Brassica rapoasiatica Sinskaya
  • Brassica rapoeuropea Sinskaya
  • Brassica saruna Siebold
  • Brassica septiceps (L.H.Bailey) L.H.Bailey
  • Brassica sphaerorrhiza Gray
  • Brassica trilocularis Hook.f. & Thomson
  • Brassica trimestris Boenn.
  • Brassica tuberosa Salisb.
  • Caulanthus sulfureus Payson
  • Crucifera rapa E.H.L.Krause
  • Napus campestris (L.) Schimp. & Spenn.
  • Napus rapa (L.) Schimp. & Spenn.
  • Raphanus campestris (L.) Crantz
  • Raphanus rapa (L.) Crantz
  • Sinapis dichotoma Roxb.
  • Sinapis pekinensis Lour.
  • Sinapis rapa (L.) Brot.
  • Sinapis tuberosa Poir.

International Common Names

  • English: Chinese savoy; biennial turnip rape; bird rape; bird’s rape; birdrape mustard; bok choi; bomdong; broad-beak mustard; brown sarson; caisim; caisin; cai-xin; canola; celery cabbage; Chinese cabbage; Chinese mustard; Chinese white cabbage; choisum; choi-sum; colbaga; colza; common turnip; dwarf white stem pak choy; false pak choi; flowering white cabbage; fodder kale; hanover salad; Indian colza; Indian rape; Italian kale; Italian turnip broccoli; komatsuna; leaf rape; mizuna; mustard cabbage; mustard spinach; napa cabbage; nep crops; pakchoi; pak-choi; petsai; pe-tsai; Polish canola; rape; rapini; rosette pak choi; ruvo kale; seven-top turnip; shantung cabbage; Siberian kale; spring turnip rape; stubble turnip; summer turnip rape; Swedish turnip; tat soi; turnip; tyfon; white celery mustard; white turnip; wild mustard; wild rutabaga; wild turnip; winter turnip; winter turnip rape; yellow sarson
  • Spanish: col de China; colza; mostaza blanca; nabina; nabo; nabo gallego; repollo chino; yuyo
  • French: navet blanc; pakchoï; pétsaï; brocoli chinois; chou Chinois; chou de Chine; chou de Shanghai; chou de shanton; chou-navet; choy sum; moutarde des oiseaux; moutarde épinard; navet; navette d’hiver; navette sauvage; pakchoy; rave; roquette d’orient
  • Portuguese: couve Chinesa; couve d’inflorescência; couve da China; couve petsai; nabo; rábano

Local Common Names

  • Persian Gulf States: latok
  • Afghanistan: shalgham
  • Australia: wombok
  • Azerbaijan: turp
  • Bolivia: k’ita mostacilla; k’ita nabo; navo
  • Brazil: couve-chinesa-petsai; couve-repolho-da-china; nabo-selvagem; nabo-silvestre
  • Bulgaria: repitsa
  • Cambodia: Pe-chhaay; Spéi khiew
  • Canada: Annual turnip rape; Argentine canola; Polish rape
  • China: bai cai; bo leng jie; da ge cai; man jing; qing cai; qing cai pak choi; sui choi; ta ke cai; taatsai; wang sheng cai; xi yang you cai; xiqo you cai; yun tai; ze cai hua; ze tai cai; zi cai tai
  • Colombia: mostaza silvestre; alpiste
  • Denmark: höstoe; knakaal; majroe
  • Ecuador: nabo chino
  • Finland: pakchoi; pe-tsai; pinaattikiinankaali; rapsi
  • Germany: Chinakohl; Chinesischer senf-kohl; Herbstrübe; Kohlrübe; Mairübe; Pakchoi; Rübsaat; Rübsen; Schnittkohl; Speiserübe; Steckrübe; Stoppelrübe; Wasserrübe; Weiße Rübe; Wruke
  • Haiti: chou; navet
  • India: an-tam; chalgom; grunjanakam; kalamohare; kali sarson; katusneha; nalla avalu; salgam; sarisan; sarsapa; sarson; shalgam; shaljam; sherasa; tantubha; tori; toria
  • Indonesia: caisin; paksoi; pecai; sawi hijau; sawi kembang; sawi putih
  • Italy: broccoletto; cime di rapa; colza; navete; navone; rapa; rapaccio; ravizzone
  • Japan: hakusai; kabu; kabuna; kisaragina; kyona; mibuna; mizuna; natane; shakushina; taasai; taisi; turnip greens
  • Laos: kaas chiin
  • Malaysia: kobis cina; pak choi; petsai; sawi bunga; sawi puhit
  • Mexico: flor de nabo; huachelai; mostacilla; mostaza; nabo de campo; nabo de canarios; nabo silvestre; pata de cuervo; semilla para pájaros; vaina
  • Moldova: turneps
  • Nepal: gante mula; salgam
  • Netherlands: chinesekool; koolzaad
  • New Caledonia: navet
  • New Zealand: won bok; wong bok
  • Norway: kålrot
  • Pakistan: gonglu; shaljam
  • Papua New Guinea: kapis
  • Philippines: Chinese cabbage; dagawan; pechai baguio; pechay; wombok
  • Poland: brukiew
  • Portugal: couve nabiça de grelo; couve nabo; couve nabo branca; nabo redondo; turnepo
  • Russian Federation: brjukva; kapusta kitajskaja; kapusta polevaya; kol’za; raps; repa; superitsa; surepica; turneps
  • Spain: berza campía; berza silvestre; cabeza de nabo; carola; colinabo; grela; grelo; naba; nabicol; nabilla; nabina; nabiza; nabo forrajero; nabo galego; nabo gallego; nabo largo; nabo redondo; nabos; nap rodó; nap-i-col; raba
  • Sweden: åkerkål; kohlraps; raps; rofraps; rofva; rova
  • Thailand: phakkat-kheokwangtung; hong-how; hong-tae; phakkat-khaokwangtung; phakkat-khaopli; phakkat-khaoyai; phakkwangtung
  • Turkey: chordal
  • UK: Chinese leaf
  • Ukraine: kapusta polova; ripa
  • USA: asian greens; California peppergrass; common mustard; forage turnip; Japanese mustard; mibuna; mizuna; potherb mustard; rape mustard; summer turnip; turnip rape
  • Vietnam: cari bawsc kinh; cari bej trawsng; cari ngojt; cari thiaf

Summary of Invasiveness

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Brassica rapa is an annual to biennial herb that is widely cultivated as a vegetable or oilseed crop. It has escaped and become weedy or invasive in cultivated fields and disturbed areas. In Oceania it is listed as an invasive in Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia and New Zealand. In North America it is listed as invasive in some areas of Canada and the USA. In USA, seed use is restricted in Arizona and Michigan. It is also listed as invasive in Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. 

There is limited information available about its invasiveness and how it affects habitats, but it has been reported that the species can displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed. In California, USA it establishes in disturbed areas and forms dense stands that can displace native vegetation. In Mexico, although B. rapa is a frequent species in disturbed areas, there are no conclusive data about its negative impact on natural habitats. Its low stature prevents B. rapa from shading other species, and as most of its growth occurs during the winter months and the rainy season it avoids competition with many native species.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Capparidales
  •                         Family: Brassicaceae
  •                             Genus: Brassica
  •                                 Species: Brassica rapa

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The Brassicaceae, known as the mustard family, is composed of about 3740 species within 325 genera (Koch et al., 2012; Kiefer et al., 2014; Koch et al., 2018). It includes many economically important species, mostly in the genus Brassica, with some species being among the oldest cultivated plants. Brassica is the biggest genus of the family, providing oils, vegetables and condiments as well as being used as a fodder (PFAF, 2018).

Brassica rapa is one of the oldest Brassicaceae domesticated for oil production, as a vegetable and as a fodder (PROTA, 2018). The species exhibits high levels of morphological variation, with a long history of breeding and selection (Lou et al., 2007). Several infraspecific classifications have been proposed; more than 140 names appear in The Plant List (2013). Some of the morphotypes most common in cultivation include oilseed (B. rapa subsp. oleifera (rape), B. rapa subsp. dichotoma (brown sarson or toria) and B. rapa subsp. trilocularis, (yellow sarson)), leafy vegetables (B. rapa subsp. pekinensis (Chinese cabbage), B. rapa subsp. chinensis (pakchoi) and B. rapa subsp. nipposinica (mizuna)), root vegetables (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa (turnip)), and fodder crops (Guo et al., 2014).

In the 18th century the turnip and the oilseed-producing morphotypes were described as two different species by Linnaeus who named them B. rapa and B. campestris (PROTA, 2018). Metzger united the two species under B. rapa (Flora of China, 2018). Of the synonyms listed for B. rapa in The Plant List (2013), B. amplexicaulis, B. japonica, B. musifolia, B. polymorpha and Raphanus chinensis are illegitimate names; B. lutea is an invalid name and Sinapis communis and S. glauca are unresolved names.

Description

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The following description is from PROTA (2018):

Erect, annual to biennial herb up to 1.5 m tall, with stout taproot, sometimes partly swollen (turnip); stem branched. Leaves arranged spirally but in a basal rosette during the vegetative stage; stipules absent; lower leaves more or less petiolate, pinnately parted with 1-5 pairs of small lateral lobes and large terminal lobe up to 90 cm × 35 cm, crenate, toothed, sinuate or entire, usually hairy; stem leaves pinnately parted to simple, clasping at base, glabrous, glaucous. Inflorescence a terminal umbel-like raceme up to 60 cm long, with open flowers overtopping the buds, elongating in fruit. Flowers bisexual, regular, 4-merous; pedicel up to 3 cm long, ascending; sepals 5-8 mm long, spreading, yellow-green; petals obovate, 0.5-1 cm long, clawed, bright yellow; stamens 6; ovary superior, cylindrical, 2-celled, stigma globose. Fruit a linear silique 4-10 cm × 2-4 mm, with a tapering beak 0.5-3 cm long, dehiscent, up to 30-seeded. Seeds globose, 1-1.5 mm in diameter, finely reticulate, dark brown. Seedling with epigeal germination, with a taproot and lateral roots; hypocotyl c. 5 cm long, epicotyl 2-4 mm long; cotyledons with petiole c. 2 cm long, blade cordate, 1-1.5 cm long, cuneate at base, notched at apex.

Plant Type

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Annual
Biennial
Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Seed propagated

Distribution

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The native range of B. rapa is difficult to ascertain due to its widespread cultivation and naturalization since ancient times (Kell, 2011). The species is present on all continents, being most common in temperate areas and at higher elevations in subtropical areas (See Distribution Table for details; Kell, 2011; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; Euro+Med, 2018; Flora do Brasil, 2018; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2018; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2018; India Biodiversity Portal, 2018; New York Botanical Garden, 2018; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2018; PIER, 2018; PROTA, 2018; USDA-ARS, 2018). Its distribution is also uncertain for some countries that have common names listed for B. rapa, without clear reports on whether the species is in cultivation or only being sold in markets.

There are some discrepancies about the native distribution of B. rapa. The species has been suggested as originating in Europe (Encyclopedia of Life, 2018), Eurasia (PIER, 2018), or from the eastern Mediterranean to Pakistan and China (PROTA, 2018). For some of the countries in Europe and Asia various resources list the species as both native or introduced, as being data deficient, as of uncertain origin or as doubtfully native (Kell, 2011; Encyclopedia of Life, 2018; Euro+Med, 2018). It is also reported as only being present in cultivation in some countries (PIER, 2018; USDA-ARS, 2018).

Based on linguistic and historical research, Ignatov et al. (2010) suggest that B. rapa was first domesticated in the West-Central Asia region and subsequently spread across Europe and East Asia as a result of migrations of farmers from the area of Central Asia and Asia Minor. Dixon (2006) suggests that the species originated in the Mediterranean region. Molecular and taxonomic research by Guo et al. (2014) supports the theory that the Mediterranean region is the centre of origin of B. rapa, with centres of diversity in east Asia and along ancient trade routes, and recent migrations to the New World.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 02 Jun 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroduced
CameroonPresentIntroduced
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
Côte d'IvoirePresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
EgyptPresentIntroduced
EritreaPresentIntroducedAdventitious
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedAdventitious
KenyaPresentIntroducedAdventitious
LibyaPresentIntroduced
MoroccoPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
MozambiquePresentIntroducedAdventitious
Saint HelenaPresentIntroduced
South AfricaPresentIntroduced
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedAdventitious
TunisiaPresentIntroducedAdventitious
UgandaPresentIntroducedAdventitious
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedAdventitious

Asia

AfghanistanPresentIntroduced
ArmeniaPresentIntroduced
AzerbaijanPresentIntroduced
BangladeshPresent
ChinaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
-AnhuiPresentIntroduced
-BeijingPresentIntroduced
-FujianPresentIntroduced
-GansuPresentIntroduced
-GuangdongPresentIntroduced
-GuizhouPresentIntroduced
-HainanPresentIntroduced
-HebeiPresentIntroduced
-HeilongjiangPresentIntroduced
-HenanPresentIntroduced
-HubeiPresentIntroduced
-HunanPresentIntroduced
-Inner MongoliaPresentIntroduced
-JiangsuPresentIntroduced
-JiangxiPresentIntroduced
-JilinPresentIntroduced
-LiaoningPresentIntroduced
-NingxiaPresentIntroduced
-QinghaiPresentIntroduced
-ShaanxiPresentIntroduced
-ShandongPresentIntroduced
-ShanghaiPresentIntroduced
-ShanxiPresentIntroduced
-SichuanPresentIntroduced
-TianjinPresentIntroduced
-XinjiangPresentIntroduced
-YunnanPresentIntroduced
-ZhejiangPresentIntroduced
GeorgiaPresentIntroduced
Hong KongPresentIntroduced
IndiaPresentIntroducedAdventitious
-Andhra PradeshPresentIntroduced
-Arunachal PradeshPresentIntroduced
-AssamPresentIntroduced
-BiharPresentIntroduced
-Daman and DiuPresentIntroduced
-DelhiPresentIntroduced
-GoaPresentIntroduced
-Himachal PradeshPresentIntroduced
-KarnatakaPresentIntroduced
-KeralaPresentIntroduced
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroduced
-MaharashtraPresentIntroduced
-ManipurPresentIntroduced
-MizoramPresentIntroduced
-OdishaPresentIntroduced
-PunjabPresent
-RajasthanPresentIntroduced
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroduced
-TripuraPresentIntroduced
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroduced
-West BengalPresentIntroduced
IndonesiaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
-JavaPresent
IranPresent
IraqPresent
JapanPresentIntroduced
-HokkaidoPresent
MacauPresentIntroduced
MalaysiaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
MongoliaPresentIntroduced
NepalPresentIntroduced
PakistanPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced
South KoreaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
TurkeyPresentIntroducedAs native: doubtfully native
UzbekistanPresentIntroduced

Europe

AlbaniaPresentUncertain origin
AustriaPresentIntroduced
BelarusPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
BelgiumPresentIntroduced
Bosnia and HerzegovinaPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
BulgariaPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
CroatiaPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
CzechiaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
DenmarkPresentIntroduced
EstoniaPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
Federal Republic of YugoslaviaPresentNative
FinlandPresentIntroduced
FrancePresent
-CorsicaPresentUncertain origin
GermanyPresentUncertain origin
GreecePresentUncertain origin. East Aegean Islands and mainland
HungaryPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
IrelandPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
ItalyPresentUncertain origin. Mainland, Sardegna, Sicilia
LatviaPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
LiechtensteinPresentUncertain origin
LithuaniaPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
MaltaPresentNative
MoldovaPresentIntroduced
MontenegroPresentUncertain origin
NetherlandsPresentUncertain origin
NorwayPresentUncertain origin
PolandPresentNativeAs native: doubtfully native
Portugal
-AzoresPresentIntroduced
RomaniaPresentUncertain origin
RussiaPresentUncertain origin
-Central RussiaPresentIntroduced
-Eastern SiberiaPresentIntroduced
-Northern RussiaPresentIntroduced
-Russian Far EastPresentIntroduced
-Southern RussiaPresentIntroduced
-Western SiberiaPresentIntroduced
San MarinoPresentUncertain origin
SerbiaPresentUncertain origin
Serbia and MontenegroPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
SlovakiaPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
SloveniaPresentNative
SpainPresentUncertain origin
-Balearic IslandsPresentUncertain origin
-Canary IslandsPresentNative
SwedenPresentUncertain origin
SwitzerlandPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
UkrainePresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced
United KingdomPresentNative and IntroducedReported as native and introduced

North America

BarbadosPresentIntroduced
CanadaPresentIntroduced1885Reported as invasive and non-invasive
-AlbertaPresentIntroduced
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroduced1908
-ManitobaPresentIntroduced
-New BrunswickPresentIntroduced
-Newfoundland and LabradorPresentIntroduced
-Northwest TerritoriesPresentIntroduced
-Nova ScotiaPresentIntroduced
-OntarioPresentIntroduced
-Prince Edward IslandPresentIntroduced
-QuebecPresentIntroduced
-SaskatchewanPresentIntroduced
-YukonPresentIntroduced
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroduced
Costa RicaPresentIntroduced
CubaPresentIntroduced1911InvasiveEarliest herbarium specimen from La Habana, Guantánamo
CuraçaoPresentIntroduced
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedIndependencia, Constanza, Pedernales
El SalvadorPresentIntroduced
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedAdventitious
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedBaja Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Huehuetenango, Totonicapán
HaitiPresentIntroduced
HondurasPresentIntroducedFrancisco Morazán, La Paz
MartiniquePresentIntroduced
MexicoPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasiveBaja California Norte, Baja California Sur, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Distrito Federal, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Estado de México, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luís Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Zacatecas
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedInvasiveChontales, Estelí, Jinotega, Madriz, Managua
PanamaPresentIntroduced1893Chiriquí
Puerto RicoPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
United StatesPresentIntroducedInvasive
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced
-AlaskaPresentIntroduced
-ArizonaPresentIntroduced
-ArkansasPresentIntroduced
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-ColoradoPresentIntroduced
-ConnecticutPresentIntroduced
-DelawarePresentIntroduced
-District of ColumbiaPresentIntroduced1887
-FloridaPresentIntroduced
-GeorgiaPresentIntroduced
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced1916InvasiveHawai‘i, Kaua’i, Lana‘i, Maui, Moloka’i, O’ahu Islands, Pearl and Hermes Reef. Also as cultivated
-IdahoPresentIntroduced1910
-IllinoisPresentIntroduced
-IndianaPresentIntroduced
-IowaPresentIntroduced
-KansasPresentIntroduced
-KentuckyPresentIntroduced
-LouisianaPresentIntroduced
-MainePresentIntroduced1902
-MarylandPresentIntroduced1915InvasiveInvasive at the Antietam National Battlefield
-MassachusettsPresentIntroduced1911
-MichiganPresentIntroduced
-MinnesotaPresentIntroduced
-MississippiPresentIntroduced
-MissouriPresentIntroduced1884
-MontanaPresentIntroduced
-NebraskaPresentIntroduced
-NevadaPresentIntroduced1864
-New HampshirePresentIntroduced
-New JerseyPresentIntroduced
-New MexicoPresentIntroduced
-New YorkPresentIntroduced1908
-North CarolinaPresentIntroduced
-North DakotaPresentIntroduced
-OhioPresentIntroduced
-OklahomaPresentIntroduced
-OregonPresentIntroduced1897
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroduced
-Rhode IslandPresentIntroduced
-South CarolinaPresentIntroduced
-South DakotaPresentIntroduced
-TennesseePresentIntroduced
-TexasPresentIntroduced
-UtahPresentIntroduced
-VermontPresentIntroduced1884
-VirginiaPresentIntroduced1895
-WashingtonPresentIntroduced
-West VirginiaPresentIntroduced
-WisconsinPresentIntroduced
-WyomingPresentIntroduced

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedInvasive
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedInvasive
-South AustraliaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-TasmaniaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedInvasive
Federated States of MicronesiaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
-PohnpeiPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
FijiPresentIntroducedInvasiveAlso as cultivated
French PolynesiaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedMarquesas, Society and Austral Islands
GuamPresentIntroduced
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroduced
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedInvasiveAlso as cultivated. Île Grande Terre
New ZealandPresentIntroducedInvasiveAlso as cultivated

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedBuenos Aires, Chaco, Chubut, Corrientes, Entre Río, Jujuy, Misiones, Salta, Tierra del Fuego, Tucumán
BoliviaPresentIntroducedChuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Potosí, Santa Cruz, Tarija
BrazilPresentIntroduced
-CearaPresent
-Distrito FederalPresentIntroduced
-Espirito SantoPresentIntroduced
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroduced
-ParanaPresentIntroduced
-PernambucoPresent
-PiauiPresentIntroduced
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroduced
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroduced
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroduced
-Sao PauloPresentIntroduced
-TocantinsPresent
ChilePresentIntroducedInvasiveJuan Fernández Islands. Also as cultivated
ColombiaPresentIntroducedAntioquia, Cundinamarca
EcuadorPresentIntroducedInvasiveAlso as cultivated. Azuay, Cañar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Imbabura, Pichincha, Tungurahua
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasiveAlso as cultivated
ParaguayPresentIntroducedBoquerón
PeruPresentIntroducedInvasiveAncash, Arequipa, Cajamarca, Cusco, Junín, La Libertad, Lima, Pasco, Puno
UruguayPresentIntroduced
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedLara, Mérida, Táchira

History of Introduction and Spread

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The long history of B. rapa cultivation, the discrepancies about its native distribution and the great variety of cultivars known make it difficult to provide a clear history of its introduction and spread (PROTA, 2018). It is likely the domestication of B. rapa occurred following the advent of written history (approximately 3,500 BCE). Demographic modelling suggests a series of domestication events occurring in B. rapa between 2400 and 4100 years ago, starting in Europe and Central Asia and continuing east, which is validated by written records from the region (Qi et al., 2017). There are references to ‘oilseed rape’ and ‘mustard’ in Indian Sanskrit writings of 2000 to 1500 BCE, and in Greek, Roman and Chinese writings of 500 to 200 BCE (Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2018). B. rapa is also mentioned as occurring during the empire of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE); from where the species is believed to have spread to South-East Asia and Africa via trade routes (PROTA, 2018). Dixon (2006) suggests that B. rapa originated in the Mediterranean; spreading to into Europe, northwards to Scandinavia, eastwards to Germany, and eventually towards Asia. He also suggests that the species reached China via Mongolia and was introduced to Japan via either China or Siberia. In Europe commercial plantings of rapeseed are recorded in the Netherlands as early as the 16th century (Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2018). The species is known from the New World since the 1800s (New York Botanical Garden, 2018).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Canada 1885 Crop production (pathway cause) Yes No New York Botanical Garden (2018) From herbarium specimen
USA 1864 Crop production (pathway cause) Yes No New York Botanical Garden(2018) From herbarium specimen
Cuba 1911 Yes No New York Botanical Garden (2018) From herbarium specimen
Panama 1893 Yes No Missouri Botanical Garden (2018) From herbarium specimen

Risk of Introduction

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Brassica rapa is an annual to biennial herb, cultivated worldwide, and mostly adapted to temperate climates (PROTA, 2018). It is reported in some areas as an escape from cultivation, but without many details given (Young-Mathews, 2012; Vibrans, 2018). Although it does not grow well in the lowlands of tropical areas, there is a potential increase in the risk of introduction into these areas as research is done to expand its range of cultivation (Young-Mathews, 2012; PROTA, 2018). Climate change is a threat to crop production worldwide and research is being done to develop crops tolerant to heat, drought and extreme weather (Guo et al., 2014).

Habitat

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Brassica rapa is cultivated and also has naturalized in disturbed habitats in temperate areas and tropical highlands (PIER, 2018; PROTA, 2018). It is reported as occurring in croplands, weedy fields, roadsides, gravelly areas along railroads, waste areas, pastures, open forests, orchards, gardens and riverbanks (Kell, 2011; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2018; India Biodiversity Portal, 2018; PIER, 2018; PROTA, 2018; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ManagedProtected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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Brassica rapa is a weed in crop fields, including garlic, alfalfa, rice, oats, peanuts, coffee, pumpkin, sugarcane, barley, peas, cauliflower, beans, chickpeas, sunflower, lentils, maize, apples, nopal cactus, potatoes, sorghum, tomato and vanilla, among others (Vibrans, 2018). It is also a contaminant of grains (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2018).

Brassica rapa is listed as being a host of various phytoplasmas that affect important crops and are transmitted by phloem tapping insects (Casati et al., 2016). B. rapa can hybridise and form fertile progeny with B. napus, creating a potential route for transgenes introduced into either species to enter the wild (Young-Mathews, 2012; Vibrans, 2018). It is also reported as impoverishing and drying up soils (Vibrans, 2018).

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Brassica rapa contains high levels of phenotypic diversity contributing to several cultivars that are important crops worldwide (PROTA, 2018). Population genetic analysis found strong support for five subpopulations within B. rapa that reflect both morphology and geography: European turnip and oilseed cultivars; Asian turnip and oilseed cultivars; yellow and brown sarson (B. rapa subsp. trilocularis and ssp. dichotoma); Chinese cabbage; and pakchoi, choi sum and tatsoi (Bird et al., 2017). In Europe, oilseed forms were selected from the turnip type from about the 14th century, when more oil production was needed in some areas (Guo et al., 2014), which explains the oilseed and turnip morphotypes being present in the same subpopulation.

Brassica rapa breeding programmes are currently underway, mainly in Asia and Europe. Some of the targets of the breeding programmes are improving existing cultivars, increasing dry-matter yield and producing tropical hybrids with heat tolerance and resistance to major diseases (Young-Mathews, 2012; PROTA, 2018). B. rapa is closely related to some other Brassica spp. and is sexually compatible with some of them. There is not a strong hybridization barrier between B. napus and B. rapa, and the F1 hybrids can be as fit, or nearly as fit as their parents (Jong and Hesse (2012).

There has been extensive research into the molecular genetics of B. rapa (Cardoza and Stewart Jr, 2004). Among the Brassica species, B. rapa possesses many economically important traits and it is receptive to gene transfer techniques (Mithila and Hall 2013, USDA-ARS, 2018). The species is considered as a good potential gene donor for other Brassicaceae; including cultivars of other Brassica species such as broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbage and cauliflower (Brassica European Database, 2018). Gene transfer between B. rapa and other Brassica spp. via interspecies introgression and recombination has been used, for example, in the genetic improvement of B. napus and B. juncea, to contribute herbicide resistance and oil quality improvement (Hauser et al., 1998; Qing et al., 2000; Cardoza and Stewart Jr., 2004; Jong and Hesse, 2012). Warwick et al. (2008) report the possible occurrence of gene flow from transgenic B. napus into wild B. rapa populations in Canada. The potential for genes from transgenic crops becoming established in populations of wild relatives and the ecological risks involved is a serious concern that needs to be assessed.

The chromosome number reported for B. rapa is 2n=10 (PROTA, 2018). There are germplasm accessions held at various institutions worldwide (Brassica European Database, 2018; PROTA, 2018; USDA-ARS, 2018). The most recent reference genome for B. rapa, covers 353 Mb of the estimated 442 Mb genome (Zhang et al., 2018).

Reproductive Biology

Brassica rapa is seed propagated (PROTA, 2018). The species is self-incompatible and is insect pollinated by bees and butterflies (Vibrans, 2018; Encyclopedia of Life, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018). Seeds of most cultivars are reported as having a dormancy period (Young-Mathews, 2012; PROTA, 2018). Some cultivars need a cold, moist period to break dormancy and stimulate germination. Optimum soil temperatures for planting are reported as being between 8°C and 30°C (Young-Mathews, 2012). Seed production is unusual in lowland tropics (PROTA, 2018). Flowering and seed production can be induced by low temperatures and longer days. Seeds can be banked at 20°C for at least 5 years without loss of viability.

Physiology and Phenology

Brassica rapa is reported as flowering between January to September, depending on climate and latitude (Encyclopedia of Life, 2018; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2018; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2018). Size can vary depending on the moisture and soil fertility (Encyclopedia of Life, 2018). High temperatures can cause ‘tip burn’ and prevent head formation. Most cultivars are biennials in temperate areas and will require a cold induction for flower and seed production of about 6 weeks in temperatures below 10°C. Some cultivars can be grown in subtropical and tropical regions year-round for their leaves and tender young inflorescences, with a tendency towards faster bolting during long days.

Longevity

Brassica rapa is reported as an annual or biennial herb (PROTA, 2018). Most cultivars growing in temperate areas are biennials (Encyclopedia of Life, 2018).

Environmental Requirements

Brassica rapa is mostly grown in temperate areas with mean annual temperatures of 5.6-25°C with a mean annual precipitation of 350 to 1600 mm (PIER, 2018). The species survives early frosts, but temperatures below 3.8°C will kill most cultivars. However, some winter-type cultivars can withstand temperatures as low as -12°C (Young-Mathews, 2012).

The species grows in neutral to alkaline soils with a pH of 4.8 to 8.5, preferring well drained loam, clay loam or gravelly soils (Encyclopedia of Life, 2018; India Biodiversity Portal, 2018; PROTA, 2018). It will also grow on sandy soils (Young-Mathews, 2012). Although it prefers full sun and moist to dry conditions, it can grow in semi shaded areas (Young-Mathews, 2012).

Brassica rapa has a high-water requirement but will not tolerate flooding and is sensitive to salinity (PROTA, 2018). The species will tolerate drought conditions, moderate heat and soils with low fertility (Young-Mathews, 2012). Although it is a species best adapted to temperate areas, some cultivars are grown in the tropics, mostly above 800 m altitude (PROTA, 2018).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 60mm precipitation per month
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Tolerated Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
63 44

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -12
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 5.6 25

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall3501600mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Bimodal
Summer
Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Albugo candida Pathogen Whole plant not specific
Alternaria brassicae Pathogen Leaves not specific
Alternaria brassicicola Pathogen Leaves not specific
Arabis mosaic virus Pathogen Leaves not specific
Athalia rosae Herbivore Leaves not specific
Botrytis cinerea Pathogen Fruits/pods/Leaves not specific
Brevicoryne brassicae Herbivore Leaves/Stems not specific
Broad bean wilt virus Pathogen Leaves not specific
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris Pathogen Leaves not specific
Cauliflower mosaic virus Pathogen Leaves not specific
Ceutorhynchus assimilis Herbivore Seeds not specific
Colletotrichum higginsianum Pathogen Leaves/Stems not specific
Crocidolomia pavonana Herbivore Leaves not specific
Delia radicum Herbivore Roots/Stems
Erysiphe spp. Pathogen Leaves not specific
Fusarium oxysporum Pathogen Roots not specific
Helicobasidium brebissonii Pathogen Roots
Hellula undalis Herbivore Leaves/Stems not specific
Helophorus porculus Herbivore Roots
Helophorus rufipes Herbivore Roots
Hyaloperonospora parasitica Pathogen Leaves/Stems not specific
Leptosphaeria maculans Pathogen Whole plant not specific
Mycosphaerella brassicicola Pathogen Leaves not specific
Pectobacterium carotovorum Pathogen Whole plant not specific
Phyllotreta Herbivore Leaves not specific
Pieris canidia Herbivore Leaves not specific
Plasmodiophora brassicae Pathogen Roots not specific
Plutella xylostella Herbivore Leaves not specific
Pyrenopeziza brassicae Pathogen Leaves not specific
Pythium debaryanum Pathogen Whole plant not specific
Radish mosaic virus Pathogen Leaves not specific
Ramularia armoraciae Pathogen Leaves not specific
Sclerotinia sclerotiorum Pathogen Whole plant not specific
Spodoptera littoralis Herbivore Leaves/Stems not specific
Thanatephorus cucumeris Pathogen Roots/Stems not specific
Turnip crinkle virus Pathogen Leaves not specific
Turnip mosaic virus Pathogen Leaves not specific
Xanthomonas Pathogen Leaves not specific
Xanthomonas campestris Pathogen Whole plant not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Brassica rapa is reported as being attacked by various pests and diseases, especially in tropical areas (Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2018; Encyclopedia of Life, 2018; PROTA, 2018). Pest problems can be avoided by planting resistant cultivars and using crop rotations (Young-Mathews, 2012).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

The species is reported as being dispersed by autochory (self-dispersal) and anemochory (wind dispersal; India Biodiversity Portal, 2018). Seeds may also be dispersed by water in areas where plants grow along river margins.

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Brassica rapa is reported as being dispersed by birds and other animals, although no further details are given (Vibrans, 2018; India Biodiversity Portal, 2018).

Accidental Introduction

Brassica rapa has been reported as an escape from cultivation and as growing as a volunteer in crop fields (Young-Mathews, 2012).

Intentional Introduction

Brassica rapa has a long history of cultivation and has been distributed worldwide as a crop (PROTA, 2018).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Breeding and propagationBreeding for cultivation and research Yes Yes Encyclopedia of Life (2018); PROTA (2018); Wisconsin Fast Plants (2018)
Crop productionCultivated worldwide Yes Yes Encyclopedia of Life (2018); Flora of North (2018)
Digestion and excretionForaged by various animals Yes Encyclopedia of Life (2018)
Escape from confinement or garden escapeEscaped from cultivation into fields and disturbed areas Yes Young-Mathews (2012); Vibrans (2018)
Flooding and other natural disastersPossible as it is reported as growing on riverbanks in UK Yes Kell (2011)
FoodCultivated and sold at markets worldwide Yes Yes PROTA (2018)
ForageSeeds and foliage eaten by various animals. The seeds are sold at markets in Mexico as bird food Yes Yes Encyclopedia of Life (2018); Vibrans (2018)
Garden waste disposalIt is possible that seeds remain in the soil following cultivation in home gardens Yes Encyclopedia of Life (2018)
Habitat restoration and improvementPotential to prevent erosion, suppress weeds and soil-borne pests, alleviate soil compaction and scavenge nutrients Yes Young-Mathews (2012)
HitchhikerPossible from its cultivation and as part of bird food mix Yes Vibrans (2018)
HorticultureCultivated in home gardens Yes Yes Encyclopedia of Life (2018)
Internet salesSeeds available at various sites Yes PROTA (2018)
Live food or feed tradeCultivated commercially and sold at markets worldwide Yes Yes Encyclopedia of Life (2018)
Medicinal useSome ethnobotanical uses Yes Yes India Biodiversity Portal (2018)
Nursery tradeSeeds and plants available worldwide Yes Yes PROTA (2018)
Off-site preservation Germplasm preserved at various sites worldwide Yes Yes PROTA (2018); USDA-ARS (2018); Brassica European Database (2018)
ResearchRapid Cycling Brassica rapa (Fast Plants Type) developed to be used as a research model Yes Yes Wisconsin Fast Plants (2018)
Seed tradeSeeds available for sale on multiple websites Yes Yes PROTA (2018)

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesPossible in debris associated with its cultivation Yes
Floating vegetation and debrisPossible as it grows at river margins Yes Kell (2011)
GermplasmGermplasm preserved at various sites worldwide Yes Yes Brassica European Database (2018); PROTA (2018); USDA-ARS (2018)
Machinery and equipmentPossible, from its cultivation Yes
MailSeeds available to purchase online, posted nationally and internationally Yes Yes PROTA (2018)
Soil, sand and gravelPossible from its cultivation Yes
Land vehiclesPossible from its cultivation Yes
WaterPossible as it grows at river margins Yes Kell (2011)

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Human health Positive

Economic Impact

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Brassica rapa is a weed in cultivated sites, which can lead to a reduction in crop yield (Vibrans, 2018).

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

The seeds of B. rapa can survive in the soil for fifty years or more when deeply buried; seeds closer to the soil surface are not as persistent (Young-Mathews, 2012). The species may become a fire hazard when dry at the end of the growing season (Young-Mathews, 2012).  

Brassica rapa is considered a coloniser of disturbed habitats and a volunteer weed in cultivated land in Canada, possibly outcompeting other species (Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2018). Despite B. rapa being a frequent to occasional dominant species in disturbed and cultivated sites in Mexico, there is no evidence of negative effects in these habitats (Vibrans,2018). Its low stature does not promote the shading of other species and since most of its growth is during winter and during the rainy season, it avoids competition with other species.

Brassica rapa can hybridise with other Brassica spp., which could lead to gene flow into wild populations, including some from transgenic species (Warwick et al., 2008). Hybridisation between glyphosate-resistant B. napus and B. rapa was reported in Canada. Transgenic hybrids entering the wild might lead to an increase in fitness and invasiveness of B. rapa. More research is needed to understand the ecological implications of transgenic hybrids in natural populations.

Impact on Biodiversity

Roots, leaves and seeds of some B. rapa cultivars can contain high levels of erucic acid and glucosinolates that can irritate digestive tracts or create thyroid problems in animals, especially livestock, if consumed in large quantities (Young-Mathews, 2012). Toxicity symptoms include colic, diarrhoea, anorexia, excessive salivation and thyroid enlargement. Some cultivars have been developed that have lower levels of erucic acid and glucosinolates to make the oil and leaves safer for consumption.

Although no specific impacts over other species and the habitats are reported, disturbances will promote the spread of B. rapa, and it may form dense stands that displace other species (California Invasive Plant Council, 2018).

Social Impact

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The oil contained in the seed of some cultivars of this species can be rich in erucic acid, which is toxic to animals. Some cultivars have been selected to have lower levels of erucic acid (Useful Tropical Plants, 2018).

Risk and Impact Factors

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Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Hybridization
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Economic Value

Brassica rapa is one of the oldest Brassicaceae in cultivation (PROTA, 2018). The products of various cultivars are sold in markets worldwide; for example, turnips, Chinese cabbage and pakchoi. The fruits are sold at markets in Mexico as bird food (Vibrans, 2018).

The oils from B. rapa seeds are used as cooking oil, industrial lubricant, lamp oil, for soap making and for biodiesel production (Young-Mathews, 2012; Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2018; Vibrans, 2018; PROTA, 2018). Since the Second World War, rapeseed oil production in Europe and Canada has increased. China, India, Europe and Canada are now the top producers, with potential for the crop to be successfully grown in USA, South America and Australia (Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2018). Although much of commercial production of rapeseed oil used for cooking comes from B. napus (as Canola oil), some of the production still comes from B. rapa.

Social Benefit

Brassica rapa is widely cultivated for its roots, leaves, seed oil and as a fodder (PFAF, 2018). The flowers of some varieties are also consumed. The taproot (turnip), the leaves and flowers are used as a vegetable, boiled, fried, pickled or eaten raw as salads (PROTA, 2018). The species is especially popular in Europe and Asia. In Europe, some cultivars are important as fodder crop. Per 100 g edible portion, B. rapa leaves contain the following: 95 g water, 1.2 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 2.2 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fibre, 49 mg Ca, 0.7 mg Fe, 0.9 mg vitamin A and 38 mg vitamin C. It is low in energy value, about 65 kJ/100 g (PROTA, 2018).

Although much of the rapeseed oil production now from B. napus, B. rapa is still also cultivated for its oil, mainly for human consumption and for lamp oil (PROTA, 2018; USDA-ARS, 2018).

Brassica rapa leaves, seeds and stems are used ethnobotanically for cancer treatments and in Chinese traditional medicine (India Biodiversity Portal, 2018). The seeds are used as a poultice for burns (PFAF, 2018). Leaf and root extracts of B. rapa have antibacterial and antifungal properties (India Biodiversity Portal, 2018; PROTA, 2018). Extracts of the plant are also used as insecticide against aphids, red spider mites and flies (PFAF, 2018).

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) have selectively bred a subspecies of B. rapa, known as Rapid Cycling Brassica rapa, which has an extremely short life cycle, to be used a model organism in education and plant studies (Wisconsin Fast Plants, 2018). This variety is quite small, easy to grow, produces flowers two weeks after planting, and has a rapid seed maturation with no seed dormancy (Daugherty and Musgrave, 1994). Research done using B. rapa include studies into plant physiology, reproduction, conservation, evolution, crop domestication and molecular and population genetics (Demchik and Day, 1996; Kleier et al., 1998, Wise et al., 2002; Cardoza and Stewart Jr, 2004; Lou et al., 2007; Waller et al., 2008; Mithila and Hall, 2013, Franks et al., 2016, Cheng et al., 2016).

Brassica rapa is also an important gene source for other Brassicaceae; for example, the species has provided genes for disease resistance for B. napus (USDA-ARS, 2018).

Environmental Services

Brassica rapa flowers attract bees and butterflies, who visit them for the pollen and nectar. Some insects, including beetles and butterflies are reported as feeding on Brassica species. The seeds are eaten by various birds and the foliage can be eaten in limited amounts by livestock and other herbivores (Encyclopedia of Life, 2018). The species is also reported as being used for soil improvement (USDA-ARS, 2018).

Brassica rapa is used as a winter annual or a rotational cover crop in vegetable, speciality crop and row crop production. It has the potential to prevent erosion, suppress weeds and pests, alleviate soil compaction, and scavenge nutrients. When used as a cover crop, plants should be eliminated before or at full bloom to avoid seed set and volunteers in subsequent crops. Cultivars with larger roots have been a popular forage crop for livestock in Europe and Asia for at least 600 years. Forage turnip is a useful crop for extending the fall grazing season for dairy cows and other livestock (Young-Mathews, 2012)

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage
  • Invertebrate food

Environmental

  • Amenity
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Soil improvement
  • Wildlife habitat

Fuels

  • Biofuels

General

  • Laboratory use
  • Research model

Genetic importance

  • Gene source

Human food and beverage

  • Oil/fat
  • Root crop
  • Vegetable

Materials

  • Oils
  • Pesticide

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Brassica rapa can be distinguished from other Brassica species by its glaucous gray-blue or gray-green foliage and its clasping alternate leaves. B. napus is similar but has bigger petals (10-14 mm) than B. rapa (7-11 mm) (Vibrans, 2018). Brassica species can be confused with Diplotaxis, which have flattened fruits with biseriate seeds. The fruits in Brassica are terete or 4-angled and the seeds are uniseriate. Sinapis is also similar but fruits are prominently 3-7 veined, while Brassica seeds have only one prominent vein or are obscurely veined. Brassica can also be confused with Sisybrium which has 6-160 ovules per ovary and fruits with a prominent midvein and 3 conspicuous lateral veins. Brassica has 4-46 ovules per ovary and fruits with obscure lateral veins (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2018).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Physical/Mechanical Control

Brassica rapa should be mowed or manually removed before seeds maturation. Using fire to manage the species is not recommended (Young-Mathews, 2012).

Chemical Control

Brassica rapa is susceptible to 2,4-D, MCPA, dicamba, bromoxynil, diuron, simazine, terbacil, glyphosate, chlorsulfuron, metsulfuron methyl and triclopyr (Vibrans, 2018). Some B. rapa cultivars have become resistant to glyphosate and the triazine family of herbicides (Young-Mathews, 2012; Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2018).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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More research is needed into the invasiveness of B. rapa and the effect it has on habitats and native species. Since the species is known to hybridize with other Brassica species, information about the effects of genes transferred to B. rapa wild populations is needed.

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Strong, M. T., 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies, Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution.1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Bird, K. A., An Hong, Gazave, E., Gore, M. A., Pires, J. C., Robertson, L. D., Labate, J. A., 2017. Population structure and phylogenetic relationships in a diverse panel of Brassica rapa L. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8(March), 321. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpls.2017.00321/full

Brassica European Database, 2018. The ECPGR Brassica Database, Wageningen, The Netherlands: Centre for Genetic Resources.

Brassica Genome, 2018. Brassica Genome Database. Australia: University of Queensland and the Australian Research Council.http://www.brassicagenome.net/

Cai C, Wang X, Liu B, Wu J, Liang J, Cui Y, Cheng F, Wang X, 2017. Brassica rapa Genome 2.0: A reference upgrade through sequence reassembly and gene reannotation. Molecular Plant, 10, 649-651.

California Invasive Plant Council, 2018. Brassica rapa Plant Assessment Form. California, USA: CAL-IPC.https://www.cal-ipc.org/plants/paf/brassica-rapa-plant-assessment-form/

Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2018. The biology of Brassica rapa L. (Biology Document BIO1992-02). Ottowa, Canada: Government of Canada.http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/plants-with-novel-traits/applicants/directive-94-08/biology-documents/brassica-rapa-l-/eng/1330965093062/1330987674945

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Vibrans H, 2018. Weeds of Mexico. (Malezas de México.). In: Malezas de México. http://www.conabio.gob.mx/malezasdemexico/2inicio/home-malezas-mexico.htm

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Vyas N, Kadela P, Nama P, Deepika Y, 2008. Community analysis of plant-parasitic nematodes in and around IGNP region of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Journal of Experimental Zoology, India. 11 (2), 415-417.

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Zhao YouFu, Damicone J P, Demezas D H, Bender C L, 2000. Bacterial leaf spot diseases of leafy crucifers in Oklahoma caused by pathovars of Xanthomonas campestris. Plant Disease. 84 (9), 1008-1014. DOI:10.1094/PDIS.2000.84.9.1008

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Brassica Databasehttp://brassicadb.org/brad/
Brassica European Databasehttp://ecpgr.cgn.wur.nl/Brasedb/
Brassica Genomehttp://www.brassicagenome.net/
BrassilpBasehttps://brassibase.cos.uni-heidelberg.de/
CONABIOhttp://www.conabio.gob.mx/malezasdemexico/brassicaceae/brassica-rapa/fichas/ficha.htm
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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25/06/18 Original text by:

Jeanine Vélez-Gavilán, UPR-RUM, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

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