I planted these about 6 months ago thinking they were cauliflowers. Most of them seemed to go to seed(?) but one looks rather good and I am proposing to eat it. What are they and why did most of them go to seed?

Good specimen Poor specimen

  • May I ask where you are? What’s the weather and climate at your (or rather, the plant’s) location?
    – Stephie
    Feb 22, 2019 at 16:54
  • London (UK) - temperate with the odd frost / snow - rather sunny and mild at the moment Feb 22, 2019 at 16:56
  • Wow, so you had them over winter?
    – Stephie
    Feb 22, 2019 at 16:56
  • I am now going to show my ignorance but I thought that's what you did with brassicas (plant them in Autumn and harvest them in Spring) Feb 22, 2019 at 16:58
  • Lol, I am just impressed - wouldn’t work where I am. No criticism.
    – Stephie
    Feb 22, 2019 at 16:59

3 Answers 3


This looks very much like romanescu, it's normally green but there seem to be pictures of purple ones on Google. As far as going to seed; the head on cauliflower or broccoli is a flower, so they don't go to seed in the same sense as a plant grown for leaf or root veg. However they can be fussy plants and environmental conditions can affect the way the head forms (traditional cauliflower is apparently very susceptible to this). I have some romanescu that I planted late in the season which grew heads over winter and which variously were eaten by pigeons or killed by frost, it had a small head on today which I just picked. I don't think these are intended to be an overwintering variety - I'm just outside London so similar climate but without the heat sink buffer of being in the city.

Edit: adding pic. when I posted this answer, my romanescu had typical green florets on, by end of march they looked like the below, distinctly purple


  • My local supermarket in the UK sells this as "purple sprouting broccoli" Apart from the colour, it's the same as green broccoli, except it's more expensive. AFAIK Romanesco is yellow-green, not purple, and the OP's picture doesn't have the typical Romanesco shape either
    – alephzero
    Feb 22, 2019 at 20:00
  • 2
    Purple sprouting broccoli has multiple separate long, loose florets. Romanescu has a compact, fractal-like spiral head, which is what this photo looks like to me. Feb 22, 2019 at 20:48
  • I suppose given the OP's assumption that the others went to seed means possiby that it's a purple sprouting broccoli, the others were actually sprouting normally, but for some reason this plant has grown differently. Feb 22, 2019 at 20:56

Looks like romanescu, a broccoli.

  • I'd like to have ticked your answer as well but stack exchange won't let me :( Feb 22, 2019 at 20:13

That purple one is purple broccoli

The yellow one looks like the standard Broccoli (maybe Chinese), and is going to seed.

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