AskDefine | Define radishes

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  1. Plural of radish

Extensive Definition

The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. They are grown and consumed throughout the world. Radishes have numerous varieties, varying in size, color and duration of required cultivation time. There are some radishes that are grown for their seeds; oilseed radishes are grown, as the name implies, for oil production.


Although the radish was a well-established crop in Hellenistic and Roman times, which leads to the assumption that it was brought into cultivation at an earlier time, Zohary and Hopf note that "there are almost no archeological records available" to help determine its earlier history and domestication. Wild forms of the radish and its relatives the mustards and turnip can be found over west Asia and Europe, suggesting that their domestication took place somewhere in that area. However Zohary and Hopf conclude, "Suggestions as to the origins of these plants are necessarily based on linguistic considerations."
The descriptive Greek name of the genus Raphanus means "quickly appearing" and refers to the rapid germination of these plants. Raphanistrum from the same Greek root is an old name once used for this genus.


Summer radishes mature rapidly, with many varieties germinating in 3-7 days, and reaching maturity in three to four weeks. A common garden crop in the U.S., the fast harvest cycle makes them a popular choice for children's gardens. Most soil types will work, though sandy loams are particularly good for winter and spring crops, while soils that form a hard crust can impair growth. and was a common garden variety in England and France the early 19th century. It has a rough black skin with hot-flavored white flesh, is round or irregularly pear shaped, and grows to around 10cm in diameter.
Daikon refers to a wide variety of winter radishes from east Asia. While the Japanese name daikon has been adopted in English, it is also sometimes called the Japanese radish, Chinese radish, or Oriental radish. In areas with a large South Asian population, it is marketed as mooli. Daikon commonly have elongated white roots, although many varieties of daikon exist. One well known variety is April Cross, with smooth white roots.

Seed pod varieties

The seeds of radishes grow in pods, following flowering that happens when left to grow past their normal harvesting period. The seeds are edible, and are sometimes used as a crunchy, spicy addition to salads. and intestinal parasites.

In industry

The seeds of the Raphanus sativus species can be pressed to extract seed oil. Wild radish seeds contain up to 48% oil content, and while not suitable for human consumption the oil has promise as a source of biofuel. The oilseed radish grows well in cool climates.

Radishes in popular culture

radishes in Arabic: فجل
radishes in Min Nan: Chhài-thâu
radishes in Bulgarian: Репичка
radishes in Danish: Radise
radishes in German: Radieschen
radishes in Modern Greek (1453-): Ρεπάνι
radishes in Spanish: Raphanus sativus
radishes in Esperanto: Rafano
radishes in French: Radis
radishes in Italian: Raphanus sativus
radishes in Hebrew: צנון
radishes in Haitian: Radi
radishes in Lithuanian: Valgomasis ridikas
radishes in Dutch: Radijs
radishes in Japanese: ハツカダイコン
radishes in Polish: Rzodkiew
radishes in Portuguese: Rabanete
radishes in Russian: Редис
radishes in Serbian: Ротквица
radishes in Finnish: Retiisi
radishes in Swedish: Rädisa
radishes in Tonga (Tonga Islands): Lētisifoha
radishes in Turkish: Turp
radishes in Ukrainian: Редиска
radishes in Chinese: 萝卜
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