Acephala group

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The acephala group refers to any type of Brassica which grows without the central 'head' typical of many varieties of cabbage. These are included within the species Brassica oleracea. The name literally means "without a head" in contrast to those varieties known as capitata or "with a head". This group includes a number of species, both wild and cultivated, many of which are grown for their edible leafs and flowers.

Groups of cultivars[edit]

Different sources break down the Brassica genus into different grouping as shown below:

Mabberley (q.v.) has these groups: Napobrassica Group / Pabularia Group / Acephala Group / Alboglabra Group / Botrytis Group / Capitata Group / Gemmifera Group / Gongylodes Group / Italica Group / Tronchuda Group / Chinensis Group / Japonica Group / Pekinensis Group / Perviridis Group / Rapifera Group

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew[1] has eight groups: Acephala Group (kale, borecole, collards) / Alboglabra Group (Chinese kale, Chinese broccoli, gai laan, kai lan) / Botrytis Group (broccoli, cauliflower, broccoflower, calabrese) / Capitata Group (cabbage, savoy cabbage, red cabbage) / Gemmifera Group (sprouts, Brussels sprouts) / Gongylodes Group (kohlrabi, knol-kohl) / Italica Group (purple sprouting, sprouting broccoli) / Tronchuda Group (Portuguese cabbage, seakale cabbage)

The Acephala group of cultivars or variety for the species Brassica oleracea includes:[2]

The Acephala means "no head"[19] as the plants have leaves with no central head; the opposite arrangement of white cabbage, or Savoy cabbage.

Each cultivar has a different genome owing to mutation,[20] evolution, the ecological niche,[21] and intentional plant-breeding by man.

Mabberley (1997, p. 120) has the Acephala group in three sub-groups: kale, borecole, and collards.[22]


  1. ^ RBG Kew web site > Science & Conservation > Plants and fungi.
  2. ^ RHS Plant Finder. Web. Accessed: 2014-11-25.
  3. ^ (Quote.) "Originally, a general name for any plant of the cabbage kind, genus Brassica (of which the varieties were formerly less distinct than now)." ("colewort, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 26 November 2014.)
  4. ^ Henry Homeyer: the Gardening Guy
  5. ^ Walter Reeves,com The Georgia Gardener
  6. ^ Better Homes & Gardens
  7. ^ Garden
  8. ^ Gardeners'
  9. ^ a b BBC History Domesday This page misspells "oleracea".
  10. ^ Thompson & Morgan
  11. ^ Jersey Evening Post. (2004) "Giant cabbage" Online.
  12. ^ Andrew, A.J. (2014) SFPages : Home Guide : How to grow giant walking stick cabbages. Online. Accessed: 2014-11-26 For spelling of "chour", and "vaque" cf. Dictionnaithe Jerriais-Angliais: Jerriais-English dictionary. Jersey : Société Jersiaise 2005.
  13. ^ FREELANG Jérriais to English dictionary
  14. ^ The Cottage Smallholder
  15. ^ Chiltern Seeds
  16. ^ Torpey, Jodi (2014) Walking stick kale really works. In "Vegetable Gardener"
  17. ^ Mabberley, D. (1997) Mabberley's plant-book : A portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  18. ^ Oxford Dictionaries : Language matters
  19. ^ Merriam-Webster
  20. ^ Courses: "Genome evolution and mutation". Web. Accessed: 2014-11-25.
  21. ^ "Coupling Genetic and Ecological-Niche Models to Examine How Past Population Distributions Contribute to Divergence". Current Biology 17: 940–946. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.04.033. 
  22. ^ Mabberley, q.v.