rapa, Chinese: v}Ü;
pinyin: báicài; Cantonese bok
choy) is an East Asian leaf
vegetable related to the Western cabbage. There are many variations
on its name, spelling, and Scientific classification.
are two distinctly different groups of Brassica rapa, and a wide range
of varieties within these two groups. The binomial name B. campestris is
Pekinensis group is the more common of the two, especially outside Asia;
names such as da baicai, pe-tsai, Chinese white cabbage,
nappa cabbage and hakusai (Japanese) usually refer
to members of this group. Pekinensis cabbages have broad green leaves with
white petioles, tightly wrapped in a
cylindrical formation and usually, but not necessarily, forming a compact head.
As the group name indicates, this is particularly popular in northern China around
as well as in Japan and Korea.
Chinensis group was originally classified as its own species under the
name B. chinensis by Linnaeus. When used in
English, the name bok choy typically refers to Chinensis. Smaller
in size, the Mandarin term xiao baicai as well as the descriptive English
names Chinese chard, Chinese mustard, celery mustard and
spoon cabbage are also employed. Chinensis varieties do not form
heads; instead, they have smooth, dark green leaf blades forming a cluster reminiscent
of mustard or celery. Chinensis varieties
are popular in southern China and South-East Asia.
variants of Chinensis include:
sum (Chinese: Ü_Ã;
pinyin: càix+n; literally
"vegetable heart"; also baby bok choy), can refer to either a small, delicate
version of bok choy or simply the flowering heart of any Chinese cabbage
bok choy (Chinese: N mwv}Ü;
pinyin: ShànghÎi báicài)
refers to dark green varieties where the varioles are also green
Chinese characters v}Ü simply mean "white vegetable", and are used
to refer to both groups of B. rapa. The name bok choy and its variations
bok choi and pak choi are all taken from the Cantonese readings
of the name.