Brassica napus (Oleifera Group)

Common Name: rapeseed 
Type: Annual
Family: Brassicaceae
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to September
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Naturalize
Flower: Showy


Best performance occurs in organically rich, consistently moist, well-drained loams in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Soil pH should be between 6 and 7. Annual varieties are grown in areas with cold winters, but biennial varieties are often grown in areas with warm winters.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Brassica napus (Oleifera Group) is commonly called rapeseed. It is the third largest source of vegetable oil in the world (behind palm oil and soybean oil). It is primarily grown as a commercial crop (1) for production of vegetable oil (rapeseed oil) from its seeds, (2) for production of biodiesel from rapeseed oil, (3) for its young edible leaves or (4) as forage for livestock. Canola (Canadian Oil Low Acid) is a genetic variant that was developed in the 1970s in Canada and is now commercially grown for its seeds which produce a vegetable oil that is much lower in erucic acid and glucosinolates (fatty acids). Oleifera Group plants are annuals/biennials. They are commercially cultivated in large fields, but they often escape cultivation and naturalize in the wild as weeds. Oliefera Group plants are not grown in home gardens. Plants generally grow to 2-4' tall with flattened leaves to 20" long. Four-petaled yellow flowers are followed by sickle-shaped seed pods. Brassica napus (Pabularia Group) is grown for edible kale-like salad greens. Brassica napus (Napobrassica Group) includes rutabagas.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for cabbage.


Potential disease problems of Brassica napus include powdery mildew, clubroot, anthracnose, root knot and leaf spot. Potential insect problems include aphids, cutworms, loopers, flea beetles, root maggots and wireworms.


Primarily grown as a commercial crop for harvest of its oil rich seed.