turnip, garden vegetable of the same genus of the family Cruciferae (mustard family) as the cabbage; native to Europe, where it has been long cultivated. The two principal kinds are the white ( Brassica rapa ) and the yellow ( B. napobrassica ), which is known as the rutabaga, the Swedish turnip, or the swede. The rutabaga is grown extensively only in Europe, where it is believed to have originated during the Middle Ages as a cross between the white turnip and the cabbage. The turnip is one of the root crops used as a stock feed as well as for human food. The green leaves (greens) are often cooked like spinach. The turnip is a biennial cool-weather crop, grown mostly in cool climates. The worst turnip pests are the root maggot and the flea beetle; it is also attacked by clubroot fungus. Turnips are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Capparales, family Cruciferae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.