Herbs & Plants

Brassica napus

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Botanical Name :Brassica napus
Family: Brassicaceae
Tribe: Brassiceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: Brassica napus L.
Cladus: eurosids II
Order: Brassicales

Common NamesCanola oil rapeseed

Habitat :Brassica napus is grown throughout temperate regions. Cultivated in most European countries, but naturalized in most.

Annual or biennial, when sown late and flowering the following spring, with slender or stout, hard, long, fusiform tuberous taproot; stems erect, much-branched, up to 1.5 m tall, often purple toward base; leaves glaucous, the lower ones lyrate-pinnatifid or lobed, with petioles 10–30 cm long, glabrous or with a few bristly hairs, upper stem leaves lanceolate, sessile, clasping, more or less entire; flowers pale yellow, 1.2–1.5 cm long, open flowers not overtopping buds of inflorescence; inflorescence much-branched, up to 1 m tall as an elongating raceme; silique 5–11 cm long, 2.5–4 mm wide, with slender beak 0.5–3 mm long. Underground part curved or crooked for 5–7.5 cm and then dividing into stout horizontal branches. Fl. late spring to fall; fr. early summer to fall

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Fall plowing and preparation of a good firm seedbed is desirable as rape seeds are small. Cultipacking before seeding make a firm even seedbed. Germination must be fast with uniform emergence for the crop to get ahead of the weeds. Seed of Polish and Argentine types germinate readily when moisture and temperature conditions are suitable. Seed rate and spacing of rows varies in different areas. Sow seed with a grain drill, in rows 30–40 cm apart. Because seed are so small, it is recommended to mix 50–50 with cracked grain, so as to spread out the rape seed; for a 10 kg/ha rate, calibrate the drill for 20 kg/ha of mixture. If fertilizer is used mixed with the seed when sowing, sow about 30 kg/ha of mixture and mix at the time of sowing. Seed may be sown with a grass-seed attachment, or broadcast and then harrowed or disced lightly. Depth of sowing should be 2.5 cm or less, but seedlings will emerge from 5 cm or more if soil does not crust on top. Seedlings develop slowly and are easily destroyed by drifting soil. Spreading manure where drifting might start helps trap drifting soil. Early sowings give higher yields, but crop is more susceptible when emerging, -4°C either killing or injuring seedlings, whereas -2°C has no affect when one month old. Sowing in late April or early May is best in northern areas; sowing as late as June or early July give rather good results. Rape may be planted after grains, flax, corn, potatoes, sugar beets or fallow, but not after rape, mustards or sunflowers (Reed, 1976).
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Medicinal Uses:
Folk Medicine
The seed, powdered, with salt is said to be a folk remedy for cancer. Rape oil is used in massage and oil baths, believed to strengthen the skin and keep it cool and healthy. With camphor it is applied for rheumatism and stiff joints. Medicinally, root used in chronic coughs and bronchial catarrh

Like soybean, canola contains both high oil content as well as high protein content. It contains about 40% oil and 23% protein compared to 20% and 40%, respectively, for soybean. Like soybean, when the oil is crushed out, it leaves a high quality, high protein (37%) feed concentrate which is highly palatable to livestock. Commercial varieties of canola were developed from two species; Brassica napus (Argentine type) and Brassica campestris (Polish type). Both species of canola produce seed that is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (oleic, linoleic, and linolenic).

Other Uses:
Grown sparingly for young leaves used as potherb; more generally grown as forage for livestock feed, and as source of rapeseed oil. Rape oil used in food industry, as an illuminant and lubricant, and for soap manufacture. Residual rapeseed cake, though low in food value, used as livestock feed. Rapeseed oil has potential market in detergent lubrication oils, emulsifying agents, polyamide fibers, and resins, and as a vegetable wax substitute. According to the Chemical Marketing Reporter (April 26, 1982) “the most common use for the oil is still in the production or erucic acid, a fatty acid used in turn in the manufacture of other chemicals. Sprouts are used dietetically and as seasoning.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider