Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) belongs to the cruciferous family (Brassicaceae). The vegetable variety is also called brussels sprouts, asparagus sprouts or winter flowering sprouts. Broccoli is an edible green plant of the cabbage family whose large flowering head, stalk and small associated leaves are eaten as a vegetable. Broccoli belongs to the Italica group of cultivars of the species Brassica oleracea. The green head of the fruit consists of many small florets. Originally, the vegetable comes from Asia Minor and was brought to Italy in the 16th century. Since then it has also been known as "Italian asparagus". Fresh broccoli should always be stored fresh, broccoli powder should be stored dry and dark. Broccoli was already cultivated in the Roman Empire and was most likely improved by artificial selection on the southern Italian peninsula. Broccoli became widespread in northern Europe in the 18th century and was brought to America by Italian immigrants in the 19th century.