Broccoli probably arrived in Italy from further east some time during the 17th century and is though to be Etruscan in origin. Philip Miller, who wrote one of the first gardening dictionaries, referred to it as "Italian asparagus". Broccoli must originally have been bred from a wild type of cabbage selected for its flowering shoots rather than its leaves. Sprouting broccolis have masses of small florets growing over a long season, while calabrese is a summer vegetable with a heavy central head. The florets can be deep purple, lime green or white. The sprouting varieties are cut in spring after over-wintering and have small florets branching from a main stem. They can be cut again and again and are particularly good steamed, served either hot or cold. Confusingly, sometimes broccoli means cauliflower.

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