A family, formerly known as Cruciferae (because the petals are arranged in a cross), of mostly annual or perennial herbs with alternate leaves and racemes of 4-sepalled, 4-petalled flowers. There are usually 2 outer stamens plus 4 larger, inner ones. The ovary consists of 2 carpels but produces dry fruits of various forms, either capsules or indehiscent. Brassicas provide many valuable vegetables, e.g. Brassica oleracea, cabbage, etc., and are sources of useful oils. No members of the family are poisonous. There are 390 genera with about 3000 species, cosmopolitan but mainly temperate.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.