- The cabbage is a popular cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea L. (Capitata Group) of the Family Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae), and is used as a leafy green vegetable.
- It is a herbaceous, biennial, dicotyledonous flowering plant distinguished by a short stem upon which is crowded a mass of leaves, usually green but in some varieties red or purplish, which while immature form a characteristic compact, globular cluster (cabbagehead).
- The plant is also called head cabbage or heading cabbage, and in Scotland a bowkail, from its rounded shape.
- The Scots call its stalk a castock, and the British occasionally call its head a loaf .
- It is in the same genus as the turnip – Brassica rapa L.
- Cabbage leaves often have a delicate, powdery, waxy coating called bloom.
- The occasionally sharp or bitter taste of cabbage is due to glucosinolate(s).
- Cabbages are also a good source of riboflavin.
- The somewhat unglamorous reputation gained by cabbage has changed over the last few years, newer varieties have been introduced which are milder tasting than the old much stronger flavoured types, these varieties have also been bred to be more disease resistant.