Related to :
Romanesco Broccoli (Brassica oleracea ssp. botrytis) [yet another
Cabbage cultivar belonging to the Botrytis Group and more related to
Cauliflower than to Broccoli, but both are cultivars of Cabbage (Brassica oleracea)].
This is a cultivated vegetable, a variety of
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea); it is not a wild flower. Broccoli was first cultivated from Cabbage in Italy, hence it is in the Italica Group of Cabbage and is called Brassica oleraceae ssp. italica. See Wild Cabbage for further cultivated varieties.
Although it is never sold in greengrocers with the flowers open, even in this late stage they are still edible, although the flowers themselves will fall apart if boiled with the stems of the vegetable. Instead, the open flowers can be added raw to salads, they taste much like the vegetable.
Skatole (aka 3-IndolylMethane or 3-MethylIndole) is produced in the mammalian digestive system and smells strongly of faeces. It is used by the military as a malodorant in non-lethal weapons. Orchid bees have a strong attraction to the aroma of Skatole (which they harvest to synthesize other pheromones) and it is used as a bait to collect bees for study. In lower concentrations, Skatole has a floral odour and is used in perfumes. Although it does not occur in Broccoli Skatole does occur in low concentrations in some plants, such as in
Orange blossoms and
Jasmine where it contributes to their floral aroma.
3-MethylIndole is a constituent of many plants in the Cabbage Family (Brassicaceae) such as Broccoli,
Collard Greens and Kale, which are all cultivated varieties of Wild Cabbage (Brassica oleracea).
3,3'-DiIndolylMethane is the (near) dimer of
Skatole shown above. It does not, so far as known, occur in these plants itself. It is produced in mammalian stomach when they metabolise the Indole-3-Carbinol (shown alongside) which is contained within Cabbage-type vegetables and has health benefits. It is currently used medicinally in the treatment of a rare respiratory disease. It may also have some use in cancer treatment.
It also contains much the same Glucosinolates as does Wild Cabbage, such as Glucoraphanin (which is converted to the
thiocyanate Sulforaphane by enzymes contained within the plants cells when they are damaged), but in differing proportions.