Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Raphanus sativus



Raphanus sativus (radish)


  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Raphanus sativus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • radish
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae

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Raphanus sativus (radish); flowering habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
CaptionRaphanus sativus (radish); flowering habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0
Raphanus sativus (radish); flowering habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
HabitRaphanus sativus (radish); flowering habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0
Raphanus sativus (radish); flowers. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
CaptionRaphanus sativus (radish); flowers. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0
Raphanus sativus (radish); flowers. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
FlowersRaphanus sativus (radish); flowers. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0
Raphanus sativus (radish); fruiting habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
TitleFruiting habit
CaptionRaphanus sativus (radish); fruiting habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0
Raphanus sativus (radish); fruiting habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
Fruiting habitRaphanus sativus (radish); fruiting habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Raphanus sativus L.

Preferred Common Name

  • radish

Other Scientific Names

  • Raphanus candidus
  • Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus (L.) Domin
  • Raphanus sativus var. caudatus L.H. Bailey
  • Raphanus sativus var. niger J. Kern
  • Raphanus sativus var. oleiferus
  • Raphanus sativus var. oleiformis Pers.
  • Raphanus sativus var. sativus

International Common Names

  • Spanish: rabanó
  • French: petit radis; radis d'hiver; ravonet
  • Arabic: fugl
  • Chinese: lor bark
  • Portuguese: rabanete; rabao

Local Common Names

  • France: radis
  • Germany: Radies; Rettig
  • Italy: radice; ramolaccio; ravanello; ravano
  • Japan: daikon
  • Netherlands: radijs; ramenas, tuin-
  • Philippines: labanos
  • Sweden: rädisa; raettika, gaards-
  • Vietnam: cu-cai trang

EPPO code

  • RAPSN (Raphanus sativus var. niger)
  • RAPSR (Raphanus sativus)

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The following wild species, closely related to the cultivated radish, possibly contributed to its origin: R. raphanistrum, distributed in the Mediterranean, western Asia and in Europe; R. maritimus, occurring along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean in Europe, of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea; R. raphanistrum subsp. landra; and R. rostratus, distributed from Greece eastwards to the Caspian Sea. Sometimes these related species are considered as one species complex named R. raphanistrum, with the different taxa classified as subspecies. R. sativus crosses freely with the related wild species. R. sativus is also closely related to several Brassica species and to Sinapisarvensis (charlock), with which it has also been successfully crossed.

Radish cultivars are classified into cultivar groups, but often a practical grouping of cultivars according to growing period, root shape and colour is followed.


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Erect, annual, more or less densely hairy herb, 20-100 cm tall; upper part of taproot and hypocotyl swollen, tuberous, globular, cylindrical or tapering, very variable in size, form and weight, red to white, sometimes grey to black, flesh white, sometimes red; stem at first short, growing out towards anthesis, hollow. 

Leaves alternate, glabrous to sparingly hispid; lower leaves in a radical rosette, petioles 3-5.5 cm long, leaf-blades oblong, oblong-ovate to lyrate-pinnatifid, 3-5-jugate with a round or ovate terminal lobe, 5-30 cm long; higher leaves much smaller, shortly petioled, lanceolate-spathulate, subdentate.   

Inflorescence a terminal, erect, long, many-flowered raceme; flowers 1.5 cm in diameter, fragrant, white to lilac; pedicel up to 2.5 cm long; sepals 4, oblong-linear, 6-10 mm long; petals 4, spathulate, clawed, 1-2 cm long; stamens 6, tetradynamous; style 3-4 mm long. Fruit cylindrical, up to 10-30 cm x 1.5 cm, consisting of 2- several superposed joints, lower joint very short and seedless, upper one(s) much larger, terete, spongy and divided into 2-12 one-seeded compartments, indehiscent, with a long, seedless beak. Seed ovoid-globose, about 3 mm in diameter, yellowish.   

The cv. group Chinese Radish is very variable. The smaller forms (South-East Asia) have white, cylindrical roots, 10-25 cm x 4-5 cm. Larger forms (China, Japan) can attain a weight of 20 kg, with leaves up to 60 cm long and with 8-12 pairs of pinnae. The cv. group Leaf Radish has no swollen roots. In cv. group Rat-tailed Radish, fruits can attain 30 cm or more in length. The cv. group Small Radish has globose roots, ellipsoid or cylindrical, 0.5-4 cm x 0.5-4 cm, red, white, red and white or violet.


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The origin of R. sativus is not known, but the area of maximum diversity runs from the eastern Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea; the variability diminishes gradually from the Caspian Sea to China, and still more to Japan. Radish is a crop of ancient cultivation in the Mediterranean (before 2000 BC), from where it spread to China in about 500 BC and to Japan in about 700 AD. It has now spread throughout the world. Cultivar group Chinese or Oriental Radish (R. sativus var. niger) is the most important in Japan, Korea, China and South-East Asia. Cultivar group Leaf Radish (R. sativus var. oleiformis) is gaining importance in Europe as forage and green manure. Cultivar group Rat-tailed Radish (R. sativus var. caudatus) is most important in India and eastern Asia. In South-East Asia it is important in northern Thailand and Burma. Cultivar group Small or Western Radish (R. sativus var. sativus) is the most important in temperate climates.

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.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

South America

ArgentinaPresentIstilart, 2005



Habitat List

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Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Helianthus annuus (sunflower)AsteraceaeOther

Biology and Ecology

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Radish seeds take about 4 days to germinate at 20-30°C. The taproot may grow to a depth of 1-1.5 m, the lateral roots are few and very slender. The edible part consists of the thickened hypocotyl (cv. group Small Radish) or of the thickened hypocotyl and upper part of the taproot (cv. group Chinese Radish). At first the leaves grow in a rosette, towards anthesis the stem elongates and branches. Flowers are cross-pollinated by insects. Growing time depends on the cultivar and desired product. Small radishes can be harvested 3-5 weeks after sowing. 

Radish is primarily a crop for the temperate regions or a cool-season crop. Cool conditions stimulate vigorous growth. Short day length stimulates root development; high temperature stimulates the development of inflorescences. The crop requires well-drained, light, sandy, deep, soils, with pH 6–6.5. Heavy soils may bring about misshapen roots.

The cultivars developed for early spring fresh market production have an annual habit, and material without a vernalization or specific day-length requirement has been developed from both Raphanus sativus var. radicula and Raphanus sativus var. niger. However, these types flower earlier when grown in long days.

Selection of types suitable for crop production in summer, autumn or winter has resulted in cultivars that are biennials with a vernalization requirement. The removal of early bolting plants from late spring and summer cultivars has probably resulted in the decreased sensitivity to day-length.

The flowers are cross-pollinated by bees and other insects (see George, 2009).  



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Radish is grown mainly for its thickened fleshy root. Small or western radishes are pungent and prized as a relish or appetizer and for adding colour to dishes. The oriental radish (cv. group Chinese Radish), being crisp with mild flavour, plays a much wider role in South-East Asia. The roots are thinly peeled, sliced or diced and put into soups and sauces or cooked with meat. They can be preserved in salt. Sometimes, as in the Philippines, they are eaten fresh, mixed with other vegetables like tomato. Tops (leaves) are eaten as salad or spinach. Seedlings known as radish sprouts are used as greens for appetizers or cooked as spinach. Cv. group Rat-tailed Radish is grown for the immature seed pods, consumed raw, cooked or pickled. Leaf radish is mainly grown as green manure, forage or as a catch crop (central and western Europe).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage


  • Soil improvement

Human food and beverage

  • Oil/fat
  • Vegetable


  • Miscellaneous materials

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore


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Banga O, 1976. Radish. In: Simmonds NW, ed. Evolution of crop plants. London, UK: Longman, 60-62.

Capecka-E; Libik-A, 1993. Description of usable traits of Japanese radish Raphanus sativus L. ssp. raphanistroides (Makino) in field conditions. Folia Horticulturae, 5(2):69-78.

Dias LS, Moreira I, 1988. Allelopathic interactions between vegetable crops and weeds. Weed control in Vegetable Production. Proceedings of a Meeting of the EC Experts' Group, 197-211.

Herklots GAC, 1972. Vegetables in South-East Asia. London, UK: George Allen & Unwin, 39-143.

Larkcom J, 1991. Oriental Vegetables. The Complete Guide for Garden and Kitchen. London, UK: John Murray, 111-120.

Sarveshwar Dayal, Verma TS, Lakhanpal KD, Ramesh Chand, 1991. Response of radish cultivars to different sowing dates. Haryana Journal of Horticultural Sciences, 20(3/4):218-225.

Tindall HD, 1983. Vegetables in the tropics. London, UK: MacMillan, 133-137.

Tisbe VO, 1967. Carrot, garden beet, radish and turnip. In: Knott JE, Deanon JR Jr, eds. Vegetable production in South-East Asia. Los Baños, Philippines, University of the Philippines Press, 305-317.

Wilson RG, Kerr ED, Provance P, 1994. Growth and development of oil-radish and yellow mustard in Nebraska. Journal of Sugar Beet Research. 1994, 30:159-167.

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS) source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Distribution Maps

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