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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Raphanus (classical name, from the Greek). Sometimes spelled Rhaphanus. Cruciferae. Annual or biennial branching herbs, one of which, R. sativus, is the radish (which see).

Leaves various and variable, the radical and sometimes the cauline lyrate-pinnatifid: fls. small but rather showy, slender-pedicelled, in open terminal racemes, rose-lilac or white, or in some species yellow; sepals erect, the lateral ones somewhat saccate or pouch-like at base; stamens 6, free: pod a long-cylindrical fleshy or soft-corky silique, with spongy tissue between the globose seeds, indehiscent.—About 10 species in Eu. and Temp. Asia. The genus is divided into two natural groups, one (Raphanistrum) with the pod longitudinally grooved and constricted between the seeds, the other (Raphanus proper) with the pod not grooved nor prominently constricted. To the former group belongs R. Raphanistrum, Linn., the Jointed or White CharLock (sometimes, but erroneously, known as Rape). It is an Old-World annual weed, now naturalized in fields and waste places in the easternmost states. It is an erect sparsely hairy herb, with slender tap-root and radish-like lvs., growing 2-3 1/2 ft. high: fls. rather showy, yellowish, turning white or purplish: silique 1-3 in. long, few-seeded, with a long beak. It is from this species that Carriere produced radishes by means of plant-breeding (see Radish). To the second section belongs R. sativus, Linn., the Radish, considered to be native to Eu. and Asia, but imperfectly known in an aboriginal wild state. It is usually annual, although commonly spoken of as biennialbecause the roots can be kept over winter and planted the following spring. The winter radishes are truly biennial in northern climates. Radish has pink-lilac or nearly white fls., and short thick spongy taper-pointed pods. Sometimes it runs wild in waste places, and then bears a long hard tap-root like that of R. Raphanistrum. The radish is extensively cultivated for its thick root, which has been developed into many shapes and colors. There are Chinese types of radish that have hard roots little more than 1 in. diam., and sometimes becoming nearly 1 ft. long. Some forms are scarcely distinguishable from short turnips. The Madras radish (India) is grown for its soft tender pods, which are eaten raw or in pickles. The rat-tailed or serpent radish, var. caudatus (R. caudatus, Linn.), has enormously long pods (see Fig. 3346), which are eaten either pickled, or raw as are radish roots. Frequently the pods are 1 ft. long. The root is slender and hard. This is a cultural variety, coming true from seed. L. H. B.

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