National Node of the BCH
Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2005-06-27 13:55 UTC (dormannn@inspection.gc.ca)
Date of last update
2012-06-14 16:54 UTC (dina.abdelhakim@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2012-06-14 16:54 UTC (dina.abdelhakim@cbd.int)

Organism information
Scientific name
Brassica rapa
Taxonomic Classification
SpeciesBrassica rapa
Common name(s)
Canola plant
Additional Classification
Type of organism
Organism domestication
  • Domesticated
Characteristics related to biosafety
Centre(s) of origin
Wild B. rapa (subspecies sylvestris L.) is regarded as the species from which the ssp. rapa (cultivated turnip) and oleifera (turnip rape) originated. It is native throughout Europe, Russia, central Asia and the Near East, with Europe proposed as one centre of origin. There is some debate as to whether the Asian and Near Eastern types arose from an independent centre of origin in Afghanistan and then moved eastward as B. rapa became domesticated. Prakash and Hinata (1980) suggest that oleiferous B. rapa subspecies developed in two places, giving rise to two different races, one European and the other Asian. 
Geographical distribution
Typically, B. rapa is found in coastal lowlands, high montane areas (the slopes of high valleys or mountain ranges), and alpine and high sierras. In Canada, where it is a recent introduction, it is found on disturbed land, typically in crops, fields and gardens, along roadsides, and on waste sites
Common use(s)
  • Food
Additional Information
Additional Information
Today, two species of Brassica have commercialized varieties with "double low" characteristics, i.e. low erucic acid content in the fatty acid profile and very low glucosinolate content in the meal, characteristics desirable for high-quality vegetable oil and high-quality animal feed.

In North America two species (B. napus and B. rapa) are considered to be of "canola" quality.

See also http://bch.cbd.int/database/record.shtml?documentid=12083 for information on B. napus
Other relevant website address or attached documents