Sunday, January 03, 2021

Modern history of turnip

Turnip is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables. The scientific classification for the plant is either Brassica rapa or Brassica campestris. The oil seed form of turnip is mentioned in Sanskrit records in India as early as 2000-1500BC. It has been under cultivation in Europe for the last 5000 years or so.

Turnip has been used as a vegetable for human consumption in Europe since prehistoric times. In the "Capitulare de Villis" emperor Charles the Great (around 800 A.D.) gives instructions as to which crops had to be planted and had to be given to his court; among those there are "napi."

However, it was not until early 18th century that turnip was cultivated as a field crop in England. Many specialists worked on the botany of this important crop plant. Phillip Miller in England, DeCandolle in Switzerland, Metzger in Germany and Vilmorin in France described all the garden varieties which were so important for the food supply of the big cities showing that Europe has been an important centre of diversity for Brassica rapa.

Turnip was introduced into Canada by Jacques Cartier in 1541 and into the US in 1609. The Indians adopted its culture from the colonists. Turnips were introduced into North America by early European settlers and colonists. They grew well in the South and became a popular food of this region.

In the late 1970s, researchers began to demonstrate the potential of turnip as pasture. The development of varieties with partially exposed roots rendered the roots more available to grazing animals.
Modern history of turnip