Radish may also refer to any member of the genus Raphanus (the "radishes").
For other uses, see radish (disambiguation).

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Scientific classification
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This page is a soft redirect. Raphanus sativus

The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. Radishes are grown and consumed throughout the world, being mostly eaten raw as a crunchy salad vegetable. They have numerous varieties, varying in size, flavor, color and the length of time they take to mature. Radishes of spicy varieties owe their sharp flavor to the various chemical compounds produced by the plants, including glucosinolate, myrosinase, and isothiocyanate. They are sometimes grown as companion plants and suffer from few pests and diseases. They germinate quickly and grow rapidly, smaller varieties being ready for consumption within a month while larger daikon varieties taking several months. Some radishes are grown for their seeds: daikon, for instance, may be grown for oil production. Others are used for sprouting and both roots and leaves are sometimes served cooked.


Varieties of radish are now broadly distributed around the world, but there are almost no archeological records available to help determine its early history and domestication.[1] However, scientists tentatively locate the origin of Raphanus sativus in southeast Asia, as this is the only region where truly wild forms have been discovered. India, central China, and central Asia appear to have been secondary centers where differing forms were developed. Radishes enter the historical record in 3rd century B.C.[2] Greek and Roman agriculturalists of the 1st century A.D. gave details of small, large, round, long, mild, and sharp varieties. The radish seems to have been one of the first European crops introduced to the Americas. A German botanist, reported radishes of Script error: No such module "convert". and roughly three feet in length in 1544, although the only variety of that size today is the Japanese Sakurajima radish.[3] The large, mild, and white East Asian form was developed in China but is mostly associated in the West with the Japanese daikon, owing to Japanese agricultural development and larger exports.


Radishes (Raphanus sativus) are annual or biennial brassicaceous crops grown for their swollen tap-roots which can be globular, tapering or cylindrical. The root skin colour ranges from white through pink, red, purple, yellow and green to black but the flesh is usually white. Smaller types have a few leaves about Script error: No such module "convert". long with round roots up to Script error: No such module "convert". in diameter or more slender, long roots up to Script error: No such module "convert". long. Both of these are normally eaten raw in salads.[4] A longer root form, including oriental radishes, daikon or mooli and winter radishes, grows up to Script error: No such module "convert". long with foliage about Script error: No such module "convert". high with a spread of Script error: No such module "convert"..[4] The flesh of radishes harvested timely is crisp and sweet, but becomes bitter and tough if the vegetable is left in the ground for too long.[5] Leaves are arranged in a rosette. They have a lyrate shape, meaning they are divided pinnately with an enlarged terminal lobe and smaller lateral lobes. The white flowers are borne on a racemose inflorescence.[6] The fruits are small pods which can be eaten when young.[4]

The radish is a diploid species, and has 18 chromosomes (2n=18).[7]


File:Germinating radish.jpg
Newly germinated radishes at 10 days old

Radishes are a fast-growing, annual, cool-season crop. The seed germinates in three to four days in moist conditions with soil temperatures between Script error: No such module "convert".. Best quality roots are obtained under moderate day lengths with air temperatures in the range Script error: No such module "convert".. Under average conditions, the crop matures in three to four weeks, but in colder weather six to seven weeks may be required..[8]

Radishes grow best in full sun in light, sandy loams with a soil pH 6.5 to 7.0, but for late season crops, a clayey-loam is ideal. Soils that bake dry and form a crust in dry weather are unsuitable and can impair germination.[9][10][11] Harvesting periods can be extended by making repeat plantings, spaced a week or two apart. In warmer climates, radishes are normally planted in the autumn.[9] The depth at which seeds are planted affects the size of the root, from Script error: No such module "convert". deep recommended for small radishes to Script error: No such module "convert". for large radishes.[11] During the growing period, the crop needs to be thinned and weeds controlled, and irrigation may be required.[9]

Radishes are a common garden crop in the United States, and the fast harvest cycle makes them a popular choice for children's gardens.[10] After harvesting, radishes can be stored without loss of quality for two or three days at room temperature, and about two months at Script error: No such module "convert". with a relative humidity of 90–95%.[6]

Companion plant

Radishes can be useful as companion plants for many other crops. This is probably because their pungent odour deters such insect pests as aphids, cucumber beetles, tomato hornworms, squash bugs and ants.[12] They can function as a trap crop, luring insect pests away from the main crop.[13] Cucumbers and radishes seem to thrive when grown in close association with each other, and radishes also grow well with chervil, lettuce, peas and nasturtiums. However, they react adversely to growing in close association with hyssop.[12]


As a fast-growing plant, diseases are not generally a problem with radishes but some insect pests can be a nuisance. The larvae of flea beetles (Delia radicum) live in the soil but it is the adult beetles that cause damage to the crop, biting small "shot holes" in the leaves, especially of seedlings. The swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii) attacks the foliage and growing tip of the plant and causes distortion, multiple (or no) growing tips and swollen or crinkled leaves and stems. The larvae of the cabbage root fly sometimes attack the roots. The foliage droops and becomes discoloured, and small white maggots tunnel through the root making it unattractive or inedible.[8]


Broadly speaking, radishes can be categorized into four main types according to the seasons they are grown in and a variety of shapes lengths, colors, and sizes, such as red, pink, white, gray-black or yellow radishes, with round or elongated roots that can grow longer than a parsnip.

Spring or summer radishes

File:Remscheid Lüttringhausen - Bauernmarkt 18 ies.jpg
European radishes (Raphanus sativus)
File:India - Koyambedu Market - Radishes 01 (3986302317).jpg
Daikon—a large East Asian white radish—for sale in India.

Sometimes referred to as European radishes or spring radishes if they are planted in cooler weather, summer radishes are generally small and have a relatively short three to four week cultivation time.[4]

  • The April Cross is a giant white radish hybrid that bolts very slowly.
  • Bunny Tail is an heirloom variety from Italy, where it is known as 'Rosso Tondo A Piccola Punta Bianca'. It is slightly oblong, mostly red, with a white tip.
  • Cherry Belle is a bright red-skinned round variety with a white interior.[10] It is familiar in North American supermarkets.
  • Champion is round and red-skinned like the Cherry Belle, but with slightly larger roots, up to about Script error: No such module "convert"., and a milder flavor.[10]
  • Red King has a mild flavor, with good resistance to club root, a problem that can arise from poor drainage.[10]
  • Sicily Giant is a large heirloom variety from Sicily. It can reach up to two inches in diameter.
  • Snow Belle is an all-white variety of radish, similar in shape to the Cherry Belle.[10]
  • White Icicle or just Icicle is a white carrot-shaped variety, around Script error: No such module "convert". long, dating back to the 16th century. It slices easily, and has better than average resistance to pithiness.[10][11]
  • French Breakfast is an elongated red-skinned radish with a white splash at the root end. It is typically slightly milder than other summer varieties, but is among the quickest to turn pithy.[11]
  • Plum Purple a purple-fuchsia radish that tends to stay crisp longer than average.[11]
  • Gala and Roodbol are two varieties popular in the Netherlands in a breakfast dish, thinly sliced on buttered bread.[10]
  • Easter Egg is not an actual variety, but a mix of varieties with different skin colors,[11] typically including white, pink, red, and purple radishes. Sold in markets or seed packets under the name, the seed mixes can extend harvesting duration from a single planting, as different varieties may mature at different times.[11]

Winter varieties

Black Spanish or Black Spanish Round occur in both round and elongated forms, and are sometimes simply called the black radish or known by the French name Gros Noir d'Hiver. It dates in Europe to 1548,[14] and was a common garden variety in England and France during the early 19th century.[15] It has a rough black skin with hot-flavored white flesh, is round or irregularly pear shaped,[16] and grows to around Script error: No such module "convert". in diameter.

Daikon refers to a wide variety of winter oilseed radishes from Asia. While the Japanese name daikon has been adopted in English, it is also sometimes called the Japanese radish, Chinese radish, Oriental radish or mooli (in India and South Asia).[17] Daikon commonly have elongated white roots, although many varieties of daikon exist. One well known variety is April Cross, with smooth white roots.[10][11] The New York Times describes Masato Red and Masato Green varieties as extremely long, well suited for fall planting and winter storage.[10] The Sakurajima radish is a hot-flavored variety which is typically grown to around Script error: No such module "convert"., but which can grow to Script error: No such module "convert". when left in the ground.[10][18]

Seed pod varieties

File:Radish seedpods.JPG
Radish fruits, also called pods

The seeds of radishes grow in siliques (widely referred to as "pods"), following flowering that happens when left to grow past their normal harvesting period. The seeds are edible, and are sometimes used as a crunchy, spicy addition to salads.[11] Some varieties are grown specifically for their seeds or seed pods, rather than their roots. The Rat-tailed radish, an old European variety thought to have come from East Asia centuries ago, has long, thin, curly pods which can exceed Script error: No such module "convert". in length. In the 17th century, the pods were often pickled and served with meat.[11] The München Bier variety supplies spicy seed pods that are sometimes served raw as an accompaniment to beer in Germany.[19]

Nutritional value

Radishes, raw
Nutritional value per Script error: No such module "convert".
Energy Script error: No such module "convert".
3.4 g
Sugars 1.86 g
Dietary fiber 1.6 g
0.1 g
0.68 g
Thiamine (B1)
0.012 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.039 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.254 mg
0.165 mg
Vitamin B6
0.071 mg
Folate (B9)
25 μg
Vitamin C
14.8 mg
Trace metals
25 mg
0.34 mg
10 mg
0.069 mg
20 mg
233 mg
0.28 mg
Other constituents
Fluoride 6 µg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Radishes are rich in ascorbic acid, folic acid, and potassium. They are a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, and calcium. One cup of sliced red radish bulbs provides approximately 19 calories, largely from carbohydrates.[20][21]



Filipino dish, Ginisang Labanos with ground beef

The most commonly eaten portion is the napiform taproot, although the entire plant is edible and the tops can be used as a leaf vegetable. The seed can also be sprouted and eaten raw in a similar way to a mung bean.[22]

The bulb of the radish is usually eaten raw, although tougher specimens can be steamed. The raw flesh has a crisp texture and a pungent, peppery flavor, caused by glucosinolates and the enzyme myrosinase, which combine when chewed to form allyl isothiocyanates, also present in mustard, horseradish, and wasabi.[23]

Radishes are mostly used in salads but also appear in many European dishes.[24] Radish leaves are sometimes used in recipes, like potato soup or as a sauteed side dish. They are also found blended with fruit juices in some recipes.[25]

Other uses

The seeds of Raphanus sativus can be pressed to extract radish seed oil. Wild radish seeds contain up to 48% oil content, and while not suitable for human consumption, this oil is a potential source of biofuel.[26] The daikon grows well in cool climates and, apart from its industrial use, can be used as a cover crop, grown to increase soil fertility, to scavenge nutrients, suppress weeds, help alleviate soil compaction and prevent winter erosion of the soil.[27][28]


The daikon varieties of radish are important parts of East, Southeast, and South Asian cuisine. In Japan and Korea, radish dolls are sometimes made as children's toys. Daikon is also one of the plants that make up the Japanese Festival of Seven Herbs (Nanakusa no sekku) on the seventh day after the new year.[29]

Citizens of Oaxaca, Mexico, celebrate the Night of the Radishes (Noche de los Rábanos) on December 23 as a part of Christmas celebrations. This folk art competition uses a large type of radish up to Script error: No such module "convert". long and weighing up to Script error: No such module "convert".. Great skill and ingenuity is used to carve these into religious and popular figures, buildings and other objects, and they are displayed in the town square.[30][31]

Production trends

About seven million tons of radish are produced yearly, representing roughly two percent of the global vegetable production.[32]

See also



  1. Zohary, Daniel; Hopf, Maria (2000). Domestication of plants in the Old World (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 139. 
  2. Lewis-Jones, L.J.; Thorpe, J.P.; Wallis, G.P. (1982). "Genetic divergence in four species of the genus Raphanus: Implications for the ancestry of the domestic radish R. sativus". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 18 (1): 35–48. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.1982.tb02032.x. 
  3. "Raphanus sativus". Plant Finder. St. Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden. 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Brickell, Christopher (ed) (1992). The Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening (Print). London: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 356–357. ISBN 978-0-86318-979-1. 
  5. Vegetable Gardening: Growing and Harvesting Vegetables. Murdoch Books. 2004. p. 242. ISBN 978-1-74045-519-0. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gopalakrishnan, T.P. (2007). Vegetable Crops. New India Publishing. pp. 244–247. ISBN 978-81-89422-41-7. 
  7. Dixon 2007, p. 35.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Seaman, Abby (2013-11-13). "Turnips and Radishes". Integrated crop and pest management guidelines for commercial vegetable production. Cornell Cooperative Extension. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Beattie, James H. (James Herbert), b. 1882; Beattie, W. R. (William Renwick), b. 1870; United States Department of Agriculture. Production of radishes (Leaflet) (57). Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture; UNT Digital Library. Retrieved October 2, 2014.  hosted by the University of North Texas Government Documents Department Documents A to Z Digitization Project website. Retrieved on 2014-07-29.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 Faust, Joan Lee (March 3, 1996). "Hail the Speedy Radish, in All Its Forms". The New York Times (via archives). Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 11.9 Peterson, Cass. (1999-05-02.) "Radishes: Easy to Sprout, Hard to Grow Right." The New York Times, via archives. Retrieved on 2014-07-29.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Ready, Barbara (1982-02-01). "Garden Companions and Enemies". EarthWood. Retrieved 2014-07-30. 
  13. "Trap Crop". Archived from the original on March 22, 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  14. Aiton, William Townsend (1812). Hortus Kewensis; Or, A Catalogue of the Plants Cultivated in the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew IV (2nd ed.). London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown. p. 129. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  15. Lindley, George (1831). A Guide to the Orchard and Kitchen Garden: Or, an Account of the Most Valuable Fruit and Vegetables Cultivated in Great Britain. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  16. McIntosh, Charles (1828). The Practical Gardener, and Modern Horticulturist. London: Thomas Kelly. p. 288. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  17. Daikon. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.) (Houghton Mifflin Company, via 2004. Retrieved 2007-09-28.  **McAffee warns that this site attempted to exploit a browser vulnerability.
  18. (2002-02-10.) "29 kg radish wins contest." Kyodo World News Service, via (fee for full access.) Retrieved on 2007-09-28.
  19. Williams, Sally (2004) "With Some Radishes, It's About The Pods"[dead link], Kitchen Gardners International. Retrieved on 2008-06-21.
  20. "Radishes, raw". Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  21. "Radish nutrition facts". Retrieved 2014-10-02. 
  22. sprout "Sprouts: daikon sprouts, radish sprouts". The Cook's Thesaurus. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  23. Cruciferous Vegetables, Isothiocyanates and Indoles (Print). IARC Handbook of Cancer Prevention 9. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer/IARC Press. 2004. p. 13. ISBN 978-92-832-3009-0. 
  24. Radish Chefs (2005–2014). "Radish Recipes". Radish Recipe Book. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  25. Fearnley-Whittingstall, Hugh (2012-06-18). "Crunch time: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's radish recipes". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  26. "Georgia looking at radish oil for biofuel market". Southeast Farm Press. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2014-07-30. 
  27. Cavigelli, Michel A.; Martin, Todd E.; Mutch, Dale R. "Oilseed radish". Michigan State University. Retrieved 2014-10-01. 
  28. Gruver, Joel; Weil, Ray R.; White, Charles; Lawley, Yvonne (2014-03-11). "Radishes: A New Cover Crop for Organic Farming Systems". Michigan State University. Retrieved 2014-10-01. 
  29. Ginny (2009-01-07). "Japanese Culture: Jinjitsu (人日)". Retrieved 2014-07-30. 
  30. "Night of the Radishes, Christmas in Oaxaca". Oaxaca Travel Guide. don Quijote. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  31. "La noche de los rábanos". StudySpanish. 
  32. Dixon 2007, p. 33.

Cited literature

  • Dixon, Geoffrey R. (2007). Vegetable Brassicas and Related Crucifers (Print). Crop Production Science in Horticulture 14. Wallingford: CAB International. ISBN 978-1-84593-138-4. 

External links