Understand “Cauliflower” through Etymology

The Etymology of the word “cauliflower”

The word “cauliflower” comes from the Latin roots “cauli”, meaning “stem”, and “flor”, meaning “flower”.

If you observe carefully, the vegetable we eat as a “cauliflower” is actually a bunch of flowers, growing upon a thick, juicy stem. The cauliflower, in this sense of flowers-on-a-stem, is related to other vegetables too. Broccoli follows a very similar concept: the flowers are easy to notice. Other vegetables include the cabbage, which has  dimensions similar to the cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. These vegetables come under the overhanging label of “cruciferous vegetables“, because their four-petalled flowers seem to make a cross-shape.

The Latin root “caul” is fairly common in botanical use. Plants that do not have stems are called “acauline” plants; a short stem is called a “caulicle”; and so forth.

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Written on: Sunday, May 8th, 2016 at 5:29 pm
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Founder at Logophilia Education Pvt. Ltd.