Brassica rapa (Asian Greens Group)

Common Name: Asian greens 
Type: Annual
Family: Brassicaceae
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall


Asian greens are cold-tolerant and the seeds may be sown in flats or directly in the ground in early spring or in late summer to fall for a late season crop. Row covers may be necessary during severe cold, especially for mibuna which is less cold hardy. Seeds may also be sown during the summer although the quality may be less and bolting may be a problem in very hot weather. Asian greens grow best in fertile, moisture-retentive soil and lack of moisture at any stage adversely affects quality. Floating row covers provide sun and pest protection. Depending on the cultivar, space 4" to 18" apart with 18" between rows. Plants may be harvested at almost any stage from seedling to mature plant. Harvest individual leaves or cut the plant about 3/4 inch above ground level to encourage resprouting.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Asian greens group is a general term used to describe mizuna, mibuna, and in some cases, komatsuna greens. Other common names include Japanese mustard, potherb mustard, Japanese greens, and California peppergrass. They are all characterized by clumps of dark green leaves with thin white stalks. Mizuna leaves are dissected and feathery, mibuna leaves are long and narrow, and komatsuna leaves are oval-shaped. Primarily grown in Japan, these vegetables are becoming more popular in the United States, especially mizuna which is used in mesclun mixes. The flavor of Asian greens resembles that of cabbage, mustard, and spinach; as the plants age, the flavor may become more piquant.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for cabbage.

Specific epithet means relating to turnips.


Asian greens suffer from all the normal brassica pests and diseases. Flea beetles, aphids, slugs, cabbage caterpillars and cutworms are the most likely pests. Possible diseases are bacterial rot and turnip mosaic virus.


Asian greens are used raw or cooked in salads, soups, stir fries, or stuffing. Milder greens will be more flavorful when used raw.