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Publication #HS565

Broccoli, Chinese—Brassica alboglabra L.1

James M. Stephens2

Chinese broccoli has other names such as gai lohn, kai lan, and Chinese kale. It is one of the Asian vegetables that seems to do well in Florida gardens, particularly during the fall and winter.


The plant resembles regular broccoli, although the leaves appear to be a bit broader and the stems somewhat longer than broccoli. The flowers form first into diminutive heads and then elongate rapidly into flower stalks bearing yellow flowers.


Chinese broccoli is a cool season vegetable that should be grown like regular broccoli. Pests, such as cabbage loopers, which bother regular broccoli, also attack the Chinese version. It seems to do well on plastic mulch if given adequate moisture. Space plants 6-inches apart in rows 12- to 24-inches wide.

Figure 1. 

Chinese broccoli


James M. Stephens

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Harvesting and Use

Harvest the flower stalk just before the flowers open. A few open buds do not reduce the quality. Leave a 4- to 6-inch portion of the flower stem attached. These stems are usually split before stir-frying or using in other cooked dishes.



This document is HS565, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date May 1994. Revised August 2015. Reviewed October 2018. Visit the EDIS website at


James M. Stephens, professor emeritus, Horticultural Sciences Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.