Plant with flowers

Lower leaves are deeply lobed

Flowers on terminal branches

Fruit a narrow siliqua

Lower leaf and flower

Flowers, buds and fruit

Scientific Name

Brassica fruticulosa

Common Names

twiggy turnip, Mediterranean cabbage


Southern Europe, North Africa



Distinguishing Characteristics

This is a herb which is grey/green in colour and when crushed smells similar to cabbage, broccoli and other similar plants in this genus.

The stems grow up to a height of around 50cm. The stem is grey/green, erect, smooth and upright.

The lower leaves are long (up to 15cm), petiolate (with a stem), shaped like a lyre (lyrate), lobed towards the base of the leaf, and sparsely bristly. The upper leaves are smaller, entire and petiolate (with a stem).

The flowers, on short pedicles (stalks), are arranged in a terminal panicle (on many branches at the end of a stem). The flowers have 4 pale yellow petals that are about 10mm long.

The fruit is a narrow pea pod shaped siliqua (which opens when dry), 2-4cm long with 1 vein and constricted around the seeds, giving the siliqua an uneven lumpy appearance. The seeds are brown and spherical when mature.


Other plants easily confused with this plant

This is a herb with a strong cabbage smell and has a cluster of leaves at the base of a plant as well as longer stems with smaller leaves. Brassica fruticulosa can be distinguished from Brassica rapa and Brassica oleracea in that B. fruticulosa has upper stem leaves that are petiolate (with stalks) or narrowed to the base whereas B. rapa and B. oleracea have upper stem leaves that are sessile (without a stalk) and bract-like (that is wrapping around the stem) or the upper part of the stem is leafless.

Sources & References

"Weeds an illustrated botanical guide to the weeds of Australia." Auld BA, Meld RW

"Flora of the Sydney Region." Carolin R, Tindale MD

"Flora of New South Wales." Harden GJ (Ed)

"National resources conservation service"  (2004) 


Prepared by Justin KY Chu, July 2005

Checked by IEWF, Oct 2005

Checked by Barbara Wiecek, Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, June 2006