Seed World

Year of the Broccoli

Origin: Broccoli was originally found in the Mediterranean region and has been eaten there since Roman times.

Family: Brassicaceae

Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea

History: Europe started eating broccoli later after the Romans — eventually, it was popularized in France as “Italian Asparagus” in 1650, and the English adopted it about 70 years later. Broccoli wasn’t introduced to North America until the 1900s, when Italian immigrants planted it in their family gardens in New York — it finally made it to the West Coast in the late 1920s. Today, California produces over 90% of the U.S. broccoli crop.

Noteworthy Stats: In 2011, the U.S. produced more than 2 billion pounds of broccoli with a value of over $750 million moon more than 130,000 acres, according to the National Garden Bureau.

Health Benefits: Broccoli is high in antioxidants, amino acids, folate and vitamin C. It’s also an immunity booster thanks to its zinc and vitamin content.

Close Relatives: Broccoli is related to cauliflower, kale, cabbage, turnips, rutabagas, Brussels sprouts and Chinese cabbage. It also has more protein than most other green vegetables.

Basic Variety Types: There are three different popular types of broccoli to grow and eat: broccoli raab, heading broccoli and baby broccoli.

Popular Varieties: 

  • Spring Rapini Broccoli Raab
  • Marathon
  • Green Magic
  • Artwork

Name Origin: Broccoli comes from the Latin word “brachium” which means “branch” or “arm”.

Did You Know?: The U.S. ranks third in the world for top broccoli export production, with Spain and Mexico being No. 1 and No. 2.

Breeders: Eden Brothers, Harris Seeds, McKenzie, Plant Good Seed, Park Seed, True Leaf Market, Ferry Morse, Earl May, Pinetree, Gurney’s, Rohrer Seeds, Totally Tomatoes, Seeds ‘N Such, Hoss, Jung Seed, Botanical Interests, Gardener’s Supply Company, Osborne Quality Seeds, Territorial Seed Company, Willhite, Burpee, Victory Seed Company, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, West Coast Seeds

Sources: National Garden Bureau, USDA