AskDefine | Define radish

Dictionary Definition



1 pungent fleshy edible root
2 pungent edible root of any of various cultivated radish plants
3 Eurasian plant widely cultivated for its edible pungent root usually eaten raw [syn: Raphanus sativus]

User Contributed Dictionary



etyl ang redic, rædic, from etyl la radicem; later readopted from etyl fr radis, from etyl pt raditz, from Latin.


  • a UK /ˈɹadɪʃ/


  1. A plant of the Brassicaceae family, Raphanus sativus, having an edible root
  2. The pungent root of this plant, usually eaten raw in salads etc


edible root

Extensive Definition

The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. They are grown and consumed throughout the world. Radishes have numerous varieties, varying in size, color and duration of required cultivation time. There are some radishes that are grown for their seeds; oilseed radishes are grown, as the name implies, for oil production.


Although the radish was a well-established crop in Hellenistic and Roman times, which leads to the assumption that it was brought into cultivation at an earlier time, Zohary and Hopf note that "there are almost no archeological records available" to help determine its earlier history and domestication. Wild forms of the radish and its relatives the mustards and turnip can be found over west Asia and Europe, suggesting that their domestication took place somewhere in that area. However Zohary and Hopf conclude, "Suggestions as to the origins of these plants are necessarily based on linguistic considerations."
The descriptive Greek name of the genus Raphanus means "quickly appearing" and refers to the rapid germination of these plants. Raphanistrum from the same Greek root is an old name once used for this genus.


Summer radishes mature rapidly, with many varieties germinating in 3-7 days, and reaching maturity in three to four weeks. A common garden crop in the U.S., the fast harvest cycle makes them a popular choice for children's gardens. Most soil types will work, though sandy loams are particularly good for winter and spring crops, while soils that form a hard crust can impair growth. and was a common garden variety in England and France the early 19th century. It has a rough black skin with hot-flavored white flesh, is round or irregularly pear shaped, and grows to around 10cm in diameter.
Daikon refers to a wide variety of winter radishes from east Asia. While the Japanese name daikon has been adopted in English, it is also sometimes called the Japanese radish, Chinese radish, or Oriental radish. In areas with a large South Asian population, it is marketed as mooli. Daikon commonly have elongated white roots, although many varieties of daikon exist. One well known variety is April Cross, with smooth white roots.

Seed pod varieties

The seeds of radishes grow in 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. and intestinal parasites.

In industry

The seeds of the Raphanus sativus species can be pressed to extract seed oil. Wild radish seeds contain up to 48% oil content, and while not suitable for human consumption the oil has promise as a source of biofuel. The oilseed radish grows well in cool climates.

Radishes in popular culture

radish in Arabic: فجل
radish in Min Nan: Chhài-thâu
radish in Bulgarian: Репичка
radish in Danish: Radise
radish in German: Radieschen
radish in Modern Greek (1453-): Ρεπάνι
radish in Spanish: Raphanus sativus
radish in Esperanto: Rafano
radish in French: Radis
radish in Italian: Raphanus sativus
radish in Hebrew: צנון
radish in Haitian: Radi
radish in Lithuanian: Valgomasis ridikas
radish in Dutch: Radijs
radish in Japanese: ハツカダイコン
radish in Polish: Rzodkiew
radish in Portuguese: Rabanete
radish in Russian: Редис
radish in Serbian: Ротквица
radish in Finnish: Retiisi
radish in Swedish: Rädisa
radish in Tonga (Tonga Islands): Lētisifoha
radish in Turkish: Turp
radish in Ukrainian: Редиска
radish in Chinese: 萝卜
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