|Cultivar group||Acephala Group|
|Cultivar group members||Many; see text.|
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, such as Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala). 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 leaves and flowers.
Groups of cultivars
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
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has eight groups: Acephala Group (kale, borecole, collards) / Alboglabra Group (Chinese kale, Chinese broccoli, gai lan, 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)
- kale, or borecole, or colewort
- curly kale
- American English collard greens, or collard
- U.K. English spring greens
- decorative kale, ornamental kale, flowering kale, flowering cabbage, or ornamental cabbage
- Jersey cabbage, long jack, walking-stick cabbage, cow cabbage, Jérriais lé grand chour à vaque [i.e., big cabbage for cows], Jérriais lé chour [i.e., cabbage], tree cabbage, or Jersey kale, or Brassica oleracea longata The long woody stems are used for walking sticks and the foliage for cow-fodder.
- Scotch kale
Acephala means "no head" 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, evolution, the ecological niche, and intentional plant-breeding by man. Mabberley (1997, p. 120) has the Acephala group in three sub-groups: kale, borecole, and collards.
- Random House Webster's College Dictionary, New York 1992, p. 736 (s.v. kale)
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- Mabberley, q.v.