Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Turnip, (Brassica rapa), a biennial crucifer, which occurs in a wild state in England, but has been in cultivation from ancient times, and has been much altered in the process. The hypocotyledonary axis and crown of the root is enlarged into the so-called "bulb," the most important edible portion. Turnips contain 92 per cent. of water and 4 per cent. of pectose, and owe their flavour to a pungent essential oil. They are said to have been cultivated in Flanders in the 15th century, and to have been introduced into England in 1550. In spring the budding shoots are eaten boiled, under the name of turnip tops, and are valuable as an antiscorbutic. The coarser but more nutritious swede, a variety named from the country of its origin, is only grown as cattle-food with us, forming one of our most valuable winter foods for sheep. There are about two million acres of land under turnips and swedes in the United Kibgdom, yielding from 25 to 30 million tons per annum.