Cauliflower Plant Information, History and Uses
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Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. Its biological cycle normally lasts two years, but we grow it as annual, because our purpose is to harvest the immature flower. Other commonly known members of this family are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. The scientific name of cauliflower is Brassica oleracea L var.botrytis and grows up to 0.5m (1.6 ft) height.
The plant consists of a thick stem surrounded by leaves on top of which the curd grows. Cauliflower develops a central main flower- head (curd). The cauliflower head may be slightly convex or pyramid-shaped, depending on the variety.
Cauliflower is similar to broccoli; however, they differ in many important details. Their main difference is that the flower – head of broccoli is looser than the head of cauliflower and develops more than one flower – heads. On the other hand, cauliflower develops only a central one. Cauliflower weight can range from 0,5 kg to over 2,5 kg (1,1 to 5,5 lbs.). Most mature cauliflowers, however, weigh from 0,5 to 1,5 kg (1,1 to 3,3 lbs.)
The plant originated in the Mediterranean region. However, it became popular in China, India, Poland and many other countries. Nowadays, China is the largest cauliflower producer worldwide. India, Poland, Italy, and France also produce considerable quantities of cauliflower.