In south-west China’s Yunnan province it produced a stunning vista as rock hillocks peep from a carpet of neon yellow by contrast to the bright blue sky.
It’s a stunning transformation that take place every year – the landscape becomes a sea of gold as kilometres of oil crops reach full bloom. Rapeseed bursts into brighty coloured flowers in early spring.
Rapeseed is the seed of the rape or rapeseed plant, a member of the mustard family. Unfortunate associations with the name of this plant aside, rapeseed is actually a major crop in many nations of the world, with the seeds being one of the principal components of the crop, although some cultures also eat the stalks, leaves, and flowers of rapeseed. For those who find the common name “rape” a bit offputting, this plant is also known as oilseed, rapa, rapaseed, or Brassica napus, more formally.
As the name “oilseed” suggests, the seeds of this plant are very high in oil. They can be ground into nutritious meal used in animal fodder, or pressed for the oil, which can be used for human food or in the production of biodiesel. Rapeseed greens are also popular in Asia, where they are eaten like other members of the Brassica genus, in a variety of dishes. Like other Brassicas, the greens have a slightly peppery bite.
The United States, Canada, India, Australia, and European Union also grow rapeseed.