Sunday, November 3, 2013

Binomen Art - Brassica

Left: Brassica in Red Cabbage; Right: Shredding Red Cabbage
Binomen Art - BrassicaBinomen Art - Brassica
In this Binomen Art piece, we spell out “Brassica” using red/purple cabbage – Brassica oleracea. B. oleracea is part of the Brassicaceae (Cabbage) family. The B. oleracea species includes many of our common foods like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, and others. How can this be? It is because these vegetables we know by the same genus and species name are subspecies. B. oleracea has seven groups of subspecies of which cabbage is under the Capitata Group. All subspecies of B. oleracea came from the wild cabbage. There is a wonderful article on The Botanist in the Kitchen site called The extraordinary diversity of Brassica oleracea. In the article, the author explains how the very different looking vegetables arise from emphasizing different aspects of the plant body. For example, the leafy B. oleracea vegetables, like kale and collard greens, have been domesticated to emphasize the leaves. B. oleracea like cabbage have been domesticated to emphasize the terminal bud – hence one big head. The cut up cabbage went into a wonderful batch of sauerkraut like this one from a few months ago.

Left: Sauerkraut Overflow; Right: Shredded Red Cabbage
Binomen Art - BrassicaBinomen Art - Brassica

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