Turnips are a cultivated plant grown by humans for thousands of years. Turnips (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa) are a subspecies of Brassica rapa, making them the same species as Bok Choy, Napa Cabbage, Rapini, and some other vegetables. Likewise, they are in the same Genus as cauliflower, broccoli, mustards, and other cabbage species.
Turnips are grown primarily for their plump round tap root. Its fleshy interior is white. The leaves above ground are also edible. Turnips grow best in cool seasons such as early spring and fall, depending on the region. They are biennial plants, taking two years to produce flowers; however the first year the plant focuses on storing nutrients in its taproot.
Though not specifically stated, turnips are most likely eaten by the Vikings in the Book series.
In reality, turnips are grown in many areas and eaten by many cultures world-wide, both the taproot and the greens. Some European cultures use turnips (typically rutabagas) as lanterns around Samhain and Halloween. Turnips are also used frequently as fodder for livestock.
- In some countries, 'Turnip' often refers to a Rutabaga, which is a cross between a turnip and cabbage. It has a taproot larger than a true turnip with often yellow flesh. A Rutabage can also be called a 'Swede' or 'Swedish Turnip'.