Warty cabbage

Eye-catching and fragrant

Warty cabbage © Jussi Helimäki

The large, bright yellow inflorescences of the warty cabbage (Bunias orientalis) are hard to miss on Harakka island, Suomenlinna and Vallisaari island or the earthwork walls of Lauttasaari island in the early summer. You can even sense warty cabbage flowers with your eyes closed by their strong, slightly sweet fragrance.

While warty cabbage seeds are known to have arrived in Finland mixed in with sailing ship ballast as well, the roots of the majority of the current plants can be traced back to the 19th century, when seeds arrived mixed in with seed and bread grains brought over from Russia and with fodder grasses and grains meant for Russian soldiers’ horses. This is reflected in the fact that the plants can nowadays be found growing around earthworks dating back to the Crimean War. Young warty cabbage buds, shoots and leaves are edible, just like regular cabbage.