Ever walked through nature and said wow that’s beautiful broccoli growing over there. No, you never have, and never will do. That is because you will simply never find broccoli growing out in the wild. Never has anyone walked through a forest and gazed upon rows of wild broccoli. And the answer lies in its origins, you see broccoli is a man-made plant.
Broccoli was created and developed very carefully through specific plant breeding. Broccoli family tree will show some interesting facts, it is a combination of some of our most popular vegetables. Broccoli, Cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, and brussel sprouts are all derived from one wild plant called wild mustard. They are all from the cruciferous family and known as kale crops.
The original plant is a coastal native found on the Mediterranean regions, and the scientific name is Brassica Oleracea. You see centuries ago, farmers recognized certain traits in the wild mustard plants that were very advantageous. Therefore they started to plant their seeds in a way to keep those positive traits and try to get rid of the negative ones, for example, plants that had a larger terminal bud were bred into cabbage. Plants that had attractive leaves eventually became the kale we know today, and brussel sprouts were made from plants with a large lateral bud.
But for the case of cauliflower and broccoli, the interest lies in the flowers. During ancient Roman times, we have already found traces of broccoli cultivation and they made it so popular that it became an intensively produced crop throughout the whole of Europe. It even made its way over to the United States during the 1920s and even became a favorite meal by the 1980s. It is thought that broccoli is now the eleven most consumed fresh vegetable on the planet.
Mostly because this man-made experiment contains the daily requirement in terms of vitamin C and K in just one portion. Such a fascinating story to think one wild mustard plant created so many different types of fresh vegetables.