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Broccoli is a plant of the cabbage family cultivated for its tightly bunched clusters of edible flower buds. These come in various colours—green, yellow, white, purple—but it is the purple variety, often known more fully as purple-sprouting broccoli, that until comparatively recently has been the main one grown in Britain. It was introduced from Italy, where it was originally produced, at the end of the seventeenth century (the Italian word means literally ‘little shoots’), and soon caught on: John Evelyn, in his Acetaria (1699), refers to the ‘Broccoli from Naples’. However, the majority of broccoli now commercially available has green flower buds. This variety was developed in Calabria, in southwest Italy, whence its alternative name calabrese.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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