Kohlrabi (German Turnip) (Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group) is a low, stout cultivar of the cabbage that will grow almost anywhere. It has been selected for its swollen, nearly spherical shape. The name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus Rübe ~ Rabi (Swiss German variant) ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter. However, the actual "Kohlrübe" exists too and corresponds to the rutabaga in English, which is distinct from the kohlrabi. Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem growth; its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and brussels sprouts: They are all bred from, and are the same species as, the wild cabbage plant (Brassica oleracea).
The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet. Except for the Gigante cultivar, spring-grown kohlrabi much over 5 cm in size tend to be woody, as do fall-grown kohlrabi much over perhaps 10 cm in size; the Gigante cultivar can achieve great size while remaining of good eating quality.