Brassica oleracea, is a cruciferous plant which grows wild on the sea-cliffs of western and southern Europe. It is a perennial plant, or perhaps sometimes a biennial, with a very tough and woody root, as a diffuse habit, and large, thick, deep-lobed leaves in various shades of green and reddish, and more or less glaucous.
The leaves of this plant were probably eaten by the barbarous or half-civilized tribes; and when history begins, the plant had been transferred to cultivated grounds and had begun to produce dense rosettes or heads of leaves.
It appears to have been in general use before the Aryan migrations to the westward. There were several distinct types or races of the Cabbage in cultivation in Pliny's time. From the one original stock have s rung all the forms of Cabbages, Cauliflowers, Brussel sprouts, and Kales.
For this family or group of plants, the English language has no generic name. The French include them all under the term Chou, and the Germans treat them under Kohl.