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BRASSICA rapa ssp. nipposinica

Image of Brassica rapa ssp. nipposinica

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

BRASSICA rapa ssp. nipposinica

Plant Common Name

Kabuna, Mizuna, Spinach Mustard, Tendergreen

General Description

A fast-growing annual or biennial grown as a vegetable leaf crop, mizuna tastes like sweet lettuce with peppery zest. The Japanese word "mizuna" translates to "water vegetable", referring to the juicy stalks. Young, smaller leaves are typically harvested and added to mesclun salad mixes, while larger slightly stronger-flavored foliage is used in cooked dishes. Some botanists suspect the subspecies nipposinica is European but it has naturalized across eastern Asia where it is most associated with the culinary heritage.

The plant develops a loose, open rosette of upright, spreading leaves on white stalks. Natural varieties include one with oval, paddle-like leaf blades and another with deeply cut leaves and jagged, toothed edges. The leaves are light to waxy green; some garden cultivars have purple or dark red foliage. When plants are mature and temperatures heat up, the rosette elongates to produce a stalk with many small, four-petaled, yellow flowers. Butterflies and other insects pollinate them, leading to round, mustard-like seeds.

Mizuna is a cool weather crop that grows well full sun and fertile garden soil that is evenly moist. It is tolerant of frost but intolerant of wet soils. Hot weather causes bolting and also makes the flavor of the greens stronger.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 3

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    12"-38" / 30.5cm - 96.5cm

  • Width

    10"-18" / 25.4cm - 45.7cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Europe, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Brown, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Light Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes