WorldCrops - World Crops for the Northeastern United States

Yu Choi Brassica rapa

yu choi at market

Yu coi for sale at a market in Chinatown, New York City (Photo by Frank Mangan)

Yu Choy, also known as you cai, cai hua (Mandarin,), and yai tsoi (Cantonese), is grown mainly for the young leaves and flowering stalks. For centuries it was grown for the oil in its well-developed seeds which were used in cooking and lamps. It is easy to confuse Chinese broccoli and yu choy since they look similar. The two main distinguishing features are yu choy has yellow flowers (Chinese broccoli has white flowers) and yu choy has a thinner stem. Based on surveys in markets in Dorchester, Mass. (where there are 20,000 Vietnamese) yu choy is more popular than Chinese broccoli.

Yu choy comes under the group of Chinese greens referred to as choy sum, which means "flowering stem". Any flowering brasscia can be referred to as choy sum, although it is usually not used for Chinese broccoli. Yu Choy is also called Green Choy Sum in some parts of China to distinguish it from other flowering brassica that have white stems.

yu choi in S. Deerfield

Yu choi variety ("80 days") from Evergreen Seeds grown at the UMass Reearch Farm. (Photo by Frank Mangan)

The plant grows vigorously in our spring and fall, but has a tendency to bolt prematurely in hot summers.

For information on production and management of yu choy, refer to the The New England Vegetable Management Guide and click on "Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Minor Cole Crops".

yu choi bolting

Yu choi that bolted prematurly in spring due to cool temperatures. (Photo by Frank Mangan)

Seed Sources
Several varities are available from Evergreen Seeds.

Johnny's Selected Seeds carries the variety "Autumn Poem".

A collaborative project produced by: Rutgers Cooperative Extension, UMASS Extension, and Cornell Cooperative ExtensionSponsored in part by: RMA and Northeast Region SARE
WorldCrops - World Crops for the Northeastern United States