Did someone invent broccoli?

I was asked (really!) if broccoli was invented; the result of some bizarre mutagenic, scientific attempt to get people to eat cauliflower, or something.

Nay, nay! Broccoli, (a form of cabbage of the mustard family) was not invented. It is native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Brassica oleracea italica is a legacy we inherited from the Romans. Cultivated first by them, it was introduced into England about 1720 and to America probably in Colonial times. Its common name is a corruption of the Latin bracchium, which means a strong arm or branch; Roman farmers referred to this veggie as "the five green fingers of Jupiter."

I strongly believe, however, that cream of broccoli soup is the result of an experiment gone tragically wrong.

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