Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family (family Brassicaceae, genus Brassica) whose sizeable flowering head stalk and small associated leaves are eaten as a vegetable.

Broccoli's flowering heads are usually dark green, arranged in a tree-like structure branching out from a stalk with typically light green leaves surround the mass of flower heads. 

Broccoli resembles cauliflower, a different but closely related cultivar group of the same Brassica species.


There are three commonly grown types of broccoli.

Calabrese broccoli often referred to simply as "broccoli", named after Calabria in Italy. It has large (10 to 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks. It is a cool-season annual crop. 

Sprouting broccoli (white or purple) has a larger number of heads with many thin stalks.

 Purple cauliflower or Violet Cauliflower is a type of broccoli grown in Europe and North America.


The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of "broccoli", which means "the flowering crest of a cabbage", and is the diminutive form of broccoli, meaning "small nail" or "sprout".

Broccoli resulted from the breeding of landrace Brassica crops in the northern Mediterranean starting in about the sixth century BCE.

Broccoli has its origins in primitive cultivars grown in the Roman empire" and was most likely improved via artificial selection in Italy. 

Broccoli was spread to northern Europe by the 18th century and brought to North America in the 19th century by Italian immigrants.

After World War II, breeding the United States and Japanese F1 hybrids increased yields, quality, growth speed, and regional adaptation.



In 2019, global production of broccoli (combined for production reports with cauliflower) was 27 million tonnes, with China and India together accounting for 73% of the world total.

In the United States, broccoli is grown year-round in California – which produced 92% of the crop nationally – with 95% of the total crop produced for fresh sales in 2018




The majority of broccoli cultivars are cool-weather crops that do poorly in hot summer weather. Broccoli grows best when exposed to an average daily temperature between 18 and 23 °C (64 and 73 °F)



Harvesting should take place when a cluster of flowers, also referred to as a "head" of broccoli, appear in the centre of the plant.

Garden pruners or shears are used to cut the head about 25 mm (1 in) from the tip. Broccoli should be harvested before the flowers on the head bloom bright yellow.

Broccoli cannot be harvested using machines, meaning it must be hand-harvested.


Introduced mainly by accident to North America, Australia and New Zealand, "cabbage worms", the larvae of Pieris raphae, also known as the "small white" butterfly, are a common pest in broccoli. 

Additional pests common to broccoli production include aphids, cabbage Looper and Cabbage Webworm. 


It is eaten either raw or cooked. 

The perceived bitterness of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli results from glucosinolates. Boiling substantially reduces their levels; however, other cooking methods, such as steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying have no significant effect. 

Broccoli is a particularly rich source of vitamin C and vitamin K.