Broccoli is an annual or biannual plant, with a main taproot from which a more superficial rooted hair grows. Its stems are thickened, with petioled, erect and curly leaves. From the main stems, a globular inflorescence of very tight floral andemas arises and is usually green in color. Once the main inflorescence is cut, other inflorescences emerge from the axils that can also be used, although they are smaller in size.
In Spain approximately 34,000 hectares are cultivated, with a production of about 560,000 tons per year. The province of Murcia, Extremadura and the Ribera del Ebro area are the ones that concentrate a large part of this production.
The crop adapts to soils of medium texture, provided that nitrogen is neither too abundant nor deficient. It is moderately tolerant of acid soils with a pH between 5-5 and 6.8. Broccoli, among the plants with moderate tolerance to salinity, is one of the most resistant to it, being able to maintain the same production in cases of moderate salinity.
In the case of broccoli, it is necessary to vernalize the plant at low temperatures to promote the crop flowering. In short cycle varieties, flowering can be induced with temperatures equal to or higher than 15ºC. In those of long cycle, temperatures of 6 to 10ºC are needed during several weeks.
Broccoli is a crop with high water needs, especially from the middle to the end of the crop cycle. In case of water deficits its flowering phase can be affected.
Broccoli varieties are classified into different groups depending on the length of their crop cycle. Short cycle (60 days production) like Gem, Futura, Topper, Corvett or Luckand; and semi-long cycle like Marathon, Samurai, Durango, Monterreand (70-120 days of cycle) or long cycle like Medium Late (more than 150 days of cycle).