Brassica rapa var. rapa

Synonyms - Brassica rapa ssp. campestris. Brassica campestris.

Family: Brassicaceae.


Brassica is the Latin name for cabbage.


An erect annual or biennial plant, with bright yellow, 4 petalled flowers that form 20-50 mm long pods. It is normally 70 cm to 1.5 m tall with branching stems. The rosette leaves are usually deeply lobed and bright green rather than blue-green.



Two. The kidney shaped cotyledons are 5 to 8 mm long x 8 to 15 mm wide with a petiole 5 to 10 mm long, and are hairless. The seedling has a long hypocotyl but no epicotyl.

First leaves:

The leaves grow singly, the first being 30 to 55 mm long with a petiole 5 to 15 mm long.


Forms a basal rosette that may die off before seeds develop. The leaves are green rather than blue-green.
Stipules -
Petiole - yes.
Blade - 100-300 x 45-90 mm. The margin is lobed and from the second leaf on and these lobes are often completely separated towards the base of the leaf. Hairless or with scattered stiff hairs and cilia.
Stem leaves - The lower stem leaves are similar to the later rosette leaves with petioles. The upper stem leaves are sessile and clasping, up to 100 mm long, smooth and hairless.


The stems are polygonal in cross section, solid with a pithy core, and hairless or have a few stiff hairs. Longitudinal striations are often present especially on later stems.

Flower head:

Elongates from a terminal, concave corymb of flowers


The flowers are approximately 15 mm in diameter.
Ovary - Sessile.
Sepals - Spreading. 4-7 mm long.
Petals - 4. Bright yellow. 6-14 mm long.
Stamens -
Anthers -


20-50 x 3-4 mm pod with 1-30 seeds. Somewhat flattened. Seedless, conical beak that is 5-12 mm long and narrower at the apex than the stigma.


1.5-2 mm. Spherical.


Swollen tuberous taproot used as a vegetable.

Key Characters:

Flowers yellow with 4 petals.
Swollen taproot.


Life cycle:

Annual or biennial. Seeds germinate in autumn and it forms a rosette in winter. In spring the flowering stem emerges and flowering occurs in late spring.


By seed or re sprouting from rootstock.

Flowering times:

September to November.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Re grows from taproot.


Forms hybrids, which may make identification difficult.



Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by seed.

Origin and History:




Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.


Disturbed areas.




Well drained coastal soils.

Plant Associations:



Swollen taproot used as a vegetable. Oilseed. Honey plant. Fodder.


Weed of crops, vegetables disturbed areas and roadsides.


Cattle grazing frost affected turnips (Brassica rapa) in winter (June) have been poisoned.
It may also cause goitre in lambs and ewes fed tops and roots.


Cattle and sheep. Foaming red urine, anaemia, light mouth membranes, weakness, dejection, jaundice, constipation.


Remove stock from source of turnip.



Management and Control:


Eradication strategies:

Manually remove isolated plants.
Prevent seed set. Spray small infested areas with 10 g/ha Eclipse® plus 500mL/ha of Brodal® plus 1% spray oil in winter each year.
Most of the Brassicaceae weeds have dormant seeds that continue to germinate throughout the season and for several years. They often mature and set seed very quickly. Manual removal is effective but must be done at least every 8-10 weeks. Once pods are formed, seed will often mature even if the plant has been uprooted. Soil disturbance often leads to a flush of seedlings.
Many are somewhat unpalatable, so grazing only offers partial control. They often flourish in under-grazed, sunny areas.
In bushland situations, fairly selective control can be achieved with 100 mL spray oil plus 0.1 g Eclipse® or 0.5 g Logran® in 10 L water. 5 mL Brodal® is often added to this mix to provide residual control of seedlings. Spray the plants until just wet from the seedling stage up to pod formation.
Isolated plants should be removed manually and burnt if flowering or seeding and a 10 m buffer area sprayed with 10 mL Brodal® in 10 L water.
500 mL/ha of glyphosate(450g/L) can be used at flowering to reduce the seed set of most species on roadsides without causing significant damage to most native plants.
Wick application with 1 part glyphosate(450g/L) in 2 parts water or overall spraying with 100 mL glyphosate(450g/L) in 10 L water provides reasonable control of most Brassicaceae species though Wild Radish tends to regrow.

Herbicide resistance:

None reported

Related plants:

Flax-leaf Alyssum (Alyssum linifolium)
Wall Cress (Arabidopsis thaliana)

Black Mustard (Brassica nigra)
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica)
Brussels Sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera)
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis)
Chinese Cabbage (Brassica chinensis)
Indian Mustard (Brassica juncea)
Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)
Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes)
Mediterranean Turnip (Brassica tournefortii)
Rape or Canola (Brassica napus var. napus)
Rapeseed (Brassica rapa var. sylvestris)
Savoy cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. sabauda)
Smooth Stemmed Turnip (Brassica barrelieri subsp. oxyrrhina was Brassica oxyrrhina)
Swede (Brassica napus var. napobrassica)
Turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapa)
Twiggy Turnip (Brassica fruticulosa)
Winter Rape (Brassica napus var. biennis)
Brassica elongata

Sea Rocket (Cakile maritima)
White Ball Mustard (Calepina irregularis)
Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
Common Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)
Wood Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa) is not in WA.
Ward's Weed (Carrichtera annua)
Wall Rocket (Diplotaxis muralis)
Sand Rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia)
Heliophila pusilla
Oval Purse (Hornungia procumbens was Hymenobolus procumbens)

Argentine Peppercress (Lepidium bonariense) is often found around granite rocks.
Common Peppercress (Lepidium africanum) is common in WA.
Field Cress (Lepidium campestre) has clasping stem leaves.
Garden Cress (Lepidium sativa)
Hoary Cress (Lepidium draba was Cardaria draba)
Lesser Swinecress (Lepidium didymum was Coronopus didymus)
Matted Peppercress (Lepidium pubescens)
Perennial Peppercress (Lepidium latifolium)
Virginian Peppercress (Lepidium virginicum)
(Lepidium oxytrichum)
(Lepidium perfoliatum)

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Common Stock (Matthiola incana)
Night-scented Stock (Matthiola longipetala)
Muskweed (Myagrum perfoliatum) is not in WA.
Ball mustard (Neslia paniculata)

Cultivated Radish (Raphanus sativus).
Sea Radish (Raphanus maritimus).

Turnip Weed (Rapistrum rugosum)
Watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum)
White Mustard (Sinapis alba) has white seed.
Charlock (Sinapis arvensis)

Sisymbrium altissimum is not in WA.
Smooth Mustard (Sisymbrium erysimoides)
London Rocket (Sisymbrium irio)
Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale)
Indian Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium orientale)0
Sisymbrium runcinatum
African Turnip Weed (Sisymbrium thellungii) is not in WA.

Succowia balearica is in Kings Park in Perth.

Plants of similar appearance:

A stout rather than swollen taproot distinguishes it from rapeseed (Brassica rapa var. sylvestris) and from Wild Turnip (Brassica rapa ssp. campestris).
The native Brassicaceae species usually have short, broad and smooth pods.


Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney). P213.

Gardner, G.A. and Bennetts, H.W. (1956). The toxic plants of Western Australia. (West Australian Newspapers Ltd, Perth). P32.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). p.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #195.19.

Marchant, N.G., Wheeler, J.R., Rye, B.L., Bennett, E.M., Lander, N.S. and Macfarlane, T.D. (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P161.