Broccoli is a plant with a flowering head and stalk eaten as a vegetable. The word broccoli comes from the Italian broccolo, which means "the flowering crest of a cabbage", and is the diminutive form of brocco, meaning "small nail" or "sprout".
Broccoli is a stout, thick-stemmed plant in the Brassicaceae family, which also includes cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and several Asian greens, like bok choy. The part we eat is actually the buds of the broccoli flower. If left unharvested, the broccoli head will open into small greenish-yellow flowers. Although most broccoli is green, there are also some delicious and beautiful purple varieties. Broccoli is so rewarding to grow because it gets your garden started early and continues to send up side shoots for weeks, after you harvest the main head, giving you a long harvest season. Broccoli varieties that are prolific at sending up these side shoots are often listed as sprouting broccoli.