2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Food and agriculture; Plants

Red radish
Red radish
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Raphanus
Species: R. sativus
Binomial name
Raphanus sativus
bunch of radishes
bunch of radishes

The radish is a root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family.

The most popular part for eating is the napiform taproot, although the entire plant is edible and the tops can be used as a leaf vegetable. The skin comes in a variety of colours. Most commonly known is the round, red-skinned variety. Other varieties may have a pink, white or grey-black skin. A large, round yellow-skinned variety has a subtle taste of lemon.

The East Asian giant white radish is called "Chinese radish" or " daikon". It is mild-flavored and is usually called daikon radish in US supermarkets. The most common variety is carrot-shaped, and approximately 8 to 14 inches (20 to 35 cm) long and 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) in diameter.

The bulb of the radish is usually eaten raw, but tougher specimens can be steamed. The raw flesh has a crisp texture and a pungent, peppery flavour, caused by the concentration of allyl isothiocyanate, also present in mustard, horseradish and wasabi.

Radishes range in sizes, in some instances growing to proportions of over 1 kg (2 lb). They are a popular choice for personal cultivation, as they are fairly easy to grow. It is a rapidly-maturing crop, with many varieties able to reach maturity within 30 days.

Radishes grow best in acidic to neutral soil and require sun and moist, fertile soil. They are best sown from early till late spring and best harvested from late summer till early autumn. The seeds should be planted around 1 cm deep. Ammonium sulfate is an effective fertilizer. However the soil pH level should be checked before planting radishes as they can be sensitive to this.


Broadly speaking, radishes can be categorized into four main types: summer,winter,fall, and spring. They also come in many different shapes, colours, and sizes, such as black radishes, multi-coloured ones, round ones, and long ones that can grow longer than a parsnip.

Summer varieties include "Rainbow Mix", a red white and purple radish; "Cherry Bell", which is cherry shaped; "Flamboyant Sabina", which is cylindrical; "April cross", reaching 30cm or more (12 inches); "French Breakfast", one of the most popular; and "Easter Egg", a white variety.

Winter varieties include "Black Spanish Round", which is large with black skin and white flesh, shaped like a globe; "Mino Early", growing to 30cm (12 inches) long, and good in a salad; and "Minawasa Summer", a variety from Japan.

An unusual variety is "München Bier". This radish is not grown for its roots, but rather for its edible seed pods, which have a spicy flavour. This variety can grow up to 60cm tall.

Nutritional value

Relative to their serving size, radishes are rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C), folic acid (folate), and Potassium. Relative to their caloric value, they are a good source of vitamin B6, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Copper, and Calcium. One cup of sliced red radish bulbs (two servings) provides approximately 20 Calories (kilocalories) or less, coming largely from carbohydrates. Thus, relative to their serving size, radishes are a dietary food that is relatively filling for its caloric value. Some sources list radishes as being rich in dietary fibre, whereas other sources disagree.

The radish in popular culture

  • Radishes were the staple food of the three main races of the Fraggle Rock universe - the Fraggles, Doozers and Gorgs.
  • In 2005 in Japan, a giant radish grew through some pavement. Named Dokonjo Daikon, the vegetable was taken to heart by the public, and toy shops began stocking a cuddly giant radish to celebrate the event.
  • Fictional character Jessica Fletcher, protagonist of detective show Murder, She Wrote, was revealed in an episode of the show to be severely allergic to radishes.
  • Radish were a group compared to Nirvana by Rolling Stone . However, they failed to strike big success with either their first record Dizzy or its sophomore follow-up Restraining Bolt, and split in 1998. Their frontman, Ben Kweller went on to achieve modest success with a solo career.
  • Rapunzel the children's fairy tale characters was named so because Rapunzel was another variation on the name Radish and while pregnant with her, Rapunzel's mother had had cravings for the vegetable - also the witch that imprisons Rapunzel is said to harvest radishes.
  • Luna Lovegood, a character from the Harry Potter series, wears radish earrings.
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