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A member of the brassica family, along with broccoli and cabbage, cauliflower was first eaten in Europe in the 13th century and was originally from the Middle East. Cauliflower was originally known as coleflower, meaning cabbage flower. With its classic creamy white florets and delicate flavour it is an attractive and popular choice. As well as the familiar white variety, Romanesco cauliflowers are available. These are conical-shaped and pale green in colour.

There are four major groups of cauliflower.

Diverse in appearance, and biennial and annual in type, this group includes white, Romanesco, various brown, green, purple, and yellow cultivars. This type is the ancestral form from which the others were derived.
Northern European annuals
Used in Europe and North America for summer and fall harvest, it was developed in Germany in the 18th century, and includes the old cultivars Erfurt and Snowball.
Northwest European biennial
Used in Europe for winter and early spring harvest, this was developed in France in the 19th century, and includes the old cultivars Angers and Roscoff.
A tropical cauliflower used in China and India, it was developed in India during the 19th century from the now-abandoned Cornish type and includes old varieties Early Benaras and Early Patna.

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Space summer and autumn cropping types 60cm (2ft) apart and winter cultivars 75cm (2.5ft) apart; spacing 30-45cm (12-18in) apart, provides mini, 'one person' curds.