Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family, whose large flower head is used as a vegetable. The word broccoli, from the Italian plural of broccolo, refers to "the flowering top of a cabbage". Broccoli is often boiled or steamed but may be eaten raw. Broccoli is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli is high in vitamin C and dietary fiber; it also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and small amounts of selenium.
Broccoli is a result of careful breeding of cultivated leafy cole crops in the Northern Mediterranean in about the 6th century BC. Since the Roman Empire, broccoli has been considered a uniquely valuable food among Italians. Broccoli was brought to England from Antwerp in the mid-18th century by Peter Scheemakers. Broccoli was first introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants but did not become widely known there until the 1920s.