The cabbage (Brassica oleracea Capitata Group) is a plant of the Family Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae). It is herbaceous, biennial, and a dicotyledonous flowering plant with leaves forming a characteristic compact cluster. The cabbage is derived from a leafy wild mustard plant, native to the Mediterranean region. The dense core of the cabbage is called the babchka.
The only part of the plant that is normally eaten is the leafy head; more precisely, the spherical cluster of immature leaves, excluding the partially unfolded outer leaves. The so-called 'cabbage head' is widely consumed — raw, cooked, or preserved — in a great variety of dishes, and is thus a leaf vegetable. Broadly speaking, cabbage varieties come in two groups, early and late, namely, Early Flat Dutch, Early Jersey Wakefield, Early Round Dutch, Late Flat Dutch and Charleston Wakefield. The early varieties mature in about 50 days. They produce small heads which do not keep well and are intended for consumption while fresh. The late cabbage matures in about 80 days, and produces a larger head.