The key difference between broccoli and cauliflower is that flower heads of broccoli are usually green in colour while flower heads of cauliflower are usually white in colour.
Family Brassicaceae or cabbage family is a plant family of angiosperms that consists of economically important and well-known plants. Brassica oleracea is a plant species that belongs to the cabbage family. It consists of a number of different cultivar groups such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and Chinese broccoli. Broccoli and cauliflower have many similarities. Both are annual plants. They prefer to grow in cool climates. They also contain a more or less similar nutritional composition. Although it is difficult to detect a huge difference between broccoli and cauliflower, there are some important factors that help to identify them.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Broccoli
3. What is Cauliflower
4. Similarities Between Broccoli and Cauliflower
5. Side by Side Comparison – Broccoli vs Cauliflower in Tabular Form
What is Broccoli?
Scientifically, broccoli belongs to the species Brassica oleracea of the family Brassicaceae. It is a cultivar of the group Italica. We commonly identify broccoli as the flowering head of cabbage. Generally, these flower heads are often very large and usually green in colour. They arise from the branched stalks in broccoli plant and then leaves cover them peripherally. Harvesting index of broccoli is at a time before the flowers bloom bright yellow.
There are three common varieties of broccoli: common broccoli, romanesco broccoli, and purple cauliflower. Some of them are very difficult to separate from cauliflower simply by looking at the appearance. Furthermore, consumption of broccoli will give several health benefits such as prevention of cancers and heart diseases. In addition, some probable cancer-preventive properties can be identified in broccoli, whilst it contains indole-3-carbinol, which is an enhancer of DNA repairing. When considering the nutritional composition of broccoli, it is a very good source of vitamin C and fibre.
What is Cauliflower?
Cauliflower is another cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea. It belongs to the cultivar group Botrytis. Floral meristems of these plants will make a gathered structure often called as “head” of cauliflower. People also call it ‘white curd’ due to its predominant white colour. It is the most common edible part of this cultivar. The use of other parts such as leaves and stalks is very rare.
There is a range of different cauliflower varieties; the traditional and commercial types are the major groups among them. Although the white cauliflower is the most common type, there are many other exceptions such as orange, green and purple. Cauliflower is also rich in fibre, folate, vitamin C and more or less similar beneficial compounds as in broccoli.
What are the Similarities Between Broccoli and Cauliflower?
- Broccoli and cauliflower are two cultivars of Brassica oleracea which are common vegetables.
- They both belong to plant family Brassicaceae.
- Furthermore, they are annual plants.
- They prefer to grow in cool climates.
- Moreover, they contain more or less similar nutritional composition; they are rich in fibre, folate and vitamin C.
- Most importantly, the consumption of both types reduces the risk of several human cancers.
What is the Difference Between Broccoli and Cauliflower?
Broccoli contains highly branched green colour flower buds while cauliflower inflorescence meristem is white in colour. This is the key difference between broccoli and cauliflower. Furthermore, broccoli belongs to cultivar group italic while cauliflower belongs to cultivar group botrytis. This is also a major difference between broccoli and cauliflower.
Nevertheless, both are very much similar in their nutritional composition. However, broccoli contains a large amount of carotenoids than cauliflower.
Summary – Broccoli vs Cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower are two cultivars that belong to the same species Brassica oleracea. They are vegetables rich in vitamin C and fibre. However, they belong to two separate cultivar groups. Broccoli belongs to the group of italica while cauliflower belongs to the group of botrytis. Furthermore, they differ in the colour of flower heads. Broccoli produces a green colour flower head while cauliflower produces a white colour flower head. Moreover, broccoli contains more amounts of carotenoids than cauliflower. This summarizes the difference between broccoli and cauliflower.
1. “Brassica Oleracea.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Sept. 2019, Available here.
2. “Broccoli: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts.” LiveScience, Purch, Available here.
1. “1239149” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “cauliflower” by Liz West (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
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