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A cool-season annual or biennial crucifer, Raphanus sativus, of Chinese origin belonging to the plant order Capparales. The radish is grown for its thickened hypocotyl, which is eaten uncooked as a salad vegetable (see illus.). Propagation is by seed. Varieties (cultivars) are classified according to root shape and season or time of maturity. Colors include red, yellow, white, black, pink, and red-white combinations. Popular varieties are short-season (21–25 days), Early Scarlet Globe and Comet; medium-season (30–50 days), Crimson Giant; and long-season or winter varieties (50–70 days), Black Spanish. Commercial production, largely of the round red short-season varieties, is primarily in the field but radishes are also produced commercially in greenhouses. Harvesting by hand or machine begins when roots are approximately ½ to 1 in. (13 to 25 mm) in diameter, often only 21–23 days after planting.

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