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Brassica rapa subsp. sylvestris. Pōhata.  Wild turnip.

Name document

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paea (Best), pōhatapōwhatareareaporakawakawa (Beattie 1920. Grown wild in Central Otago); nanīkōraukotamikehahorohoru (all modern terms, in Williams 1971); ruruhau (Servant); tairua [?], taumairangi [?]. 

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Large white root eaten (Colenso 1881b).

Leaves eaten (Te Rangi Hiroa 1949).

Listed in foods eaten by Tamaki people (Whatahoro 1913)

Rearea, "a kind of pōhata, or turnip, presumably introduced by early voyagers, was grown in cultivations and the leaves used as greens. Very dark leaves. Root dried and converted to kao. Process described. Cooked with leaves of hangehange, manono, rautāwhiri, tūtūmako and pāraharaha fern, for flavouring. Preserved. (See Best 1902).

At Māori village on Taieri Plain, Shortland"s party enjoyed a meal of eel, fernroot and turnip tops (kōrau). Kōrau generally found along the banks of rivers. (Shortland 1851).

The early settlers in Otago found "Maori cabbage" growing wild. The Maori gave me the name of this as pora, and futher said that a kind of turnip had grown wild in Central Otago, their name for it being kawakawa...An old settler tells me that the "Maori cabbage" was simply a degenerate swede turnip. The leaves were turnip-leaves; the body was a thin wiry root and uneatable - it was the leaves which were eaten. From the description of the kawakawa it is surmised to have ben kohlrabi growing wild but not yet degenerated" (Beattie 1920).

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Medicinal plant. Pleasant and refreshing (Servant 1973).

See Riley 1994 for information on medicinal uses of related plants elsewhere in the world.

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28 May 2007
2 July 2020
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