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HORT410 - Vegetable Crops

Cauliflower - Notes

  • Common name: cauliflower.
  • Latin name: Brassica oleracea var. botrytis.
  • Family: Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) [Brassicaceae Images].
  • Dicotyledon.
  • Biennial, mostly grown as an annual.
  • Direct seeded or transplanted.
  • Harvested organ: mostly white [but in some varieties, purple], enlarged flower-head, called a curd.
  • Cool season, cold hardy.
  • Temperature optimum: 10 and 20 C.
  • Soil pH optimum: 6.0 to 6.5.
  • Hand harvested (typically when heads 15 - 25 cm in diameter).
  • Heads may become discolored and develop an undesirable flavor when exposed to sunlight.
  • Longest leaves are loosely tied together over the head to "blanch" the head for 5 to 10 days before harvesting.
  • Heads cut with 1 or 2 whorl leaves to protect the head.
  • Major diseases of cole crops in the Midwest:
      Alternaria leaf spot
      black leg
      black rot
      club root
      downy mildew
      Fusarium yellows
  • Major insect pests of cole crops in the Midwest: (see: ID-56: Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2003 - Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Brussels Sprouts (PURDUE) [pdf] for information on cauliflower varieties, spacing, fertilizing, harvesting, and specific disease, weed and insect control recommendations for cauliflower)

    Sources of information:

  • Eastman, C., Mahr, S., Wyman, J., Hoy, C., Oloumi-Sadeghi, H. Cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. In "Vegetable Insect Management With Emphasis on the Midwest", (ed. R. Foster, B. Flood), Meister Publishing Co., Willoughby, Ohio, pp. 99 - 112 (1995).
  • Nonnecke, I.L. "Vegetable Production" Van Nostrand Reinhold, NY (1989).
  • Phillips, R., Rix, M. "The Random House Book of Vegetables", Random House, NY (1993).
  • Maynard, D.N. Cauliflower. In "The Software Toolworks Multimedia Encyclopedia", Version 1.5, Grolier, Inc. (1992).
  • Crisp, P., Tapsell, C.R. Cauliflower, Brassica oleracea L. In "Genetic Improvement of Vegetable Crops", (ed. G. Kalloo, B.O. Bergh), Pergamon Press, Oxford, U.K., pp. 157-178 (1993).
  • Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers, ID-56, eds. R. Foster, D. Egel, E. Maynard, R. Weinzierl, H. Taber, L.W. Jett, B. Hutchinson, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, 2003.
  • Madhavi, D.L., Ghosh, S.P. Cauliflower. In "Handbook of Vegetable Science and Technology: Production, Composition, Storage, and Processing", (ed. D.K. Salunkhe, S.S. Kadam), Marcel Dekker, Inc., NY, pp. 323 - 336 (1998).

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  • David Rhodes
    Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
    Horticulture Building
    625 Agriculture Mall Drive
    Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010
    Last Update: 04/06/10