Difference Between Broccoli and Cauliflower

Main Difference – Broccoli vs Cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower are delicious vegetables that have a great demand due to their nutrient content. Both cauliflower and broccoli are both low in calories, high in dietary fiber and contain beneficial folate and manganese which are important for red blood cell formation and sex hormone production respectively. They also contain glucosinolates that can reduce the risk of cancer. However, they are more or less similar in their morphological and physiological features, and it becomes difficult to separate these different features correctly to distinguish one from the other. However, their botanical classification is the predominant feature that can be used to differentiate them. Broccoli belongs to the cabbage family also known as Brassicaceae family, and it is categorized in the Italica cultivar group. Cauliflower also belongs to the cabbage family, but it is categorized in the Botrytis cultivar group. This is the main difference between broccoli and cauliflower. But the terms broccoli and cauliflower are frequently used interchangeably. Therefore, this article explores the difference between broccoli and cauliflower.

What is Broccoli

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) belongs to the family Brassicaceae and the Italica cultivar group. It is grown in larger quantities and considered as a delicious vegetable in many Western countries. They are cool-weather crops and are closely related to cabbages and cauliflower. Broccoli is a rich source of macronutrients and micronutrients as well as bioactive phytochemicals (polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanin, carotenoids, etc.). Fluorescence of broccoli is more loosely dispersed so that it’s easy to see the space in between each stalk.

Difference Between Broccoli and Cauliflowe

What is Cauliflower

Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) belongs to the family Brassicaceae and the Botrytis cultivar group. Fluorescence of cauliflower is more tightly dispersed so that it’s difficult to see space in between each stalk. It is an annual vegetable that reproduces through seed. Fresh and immature white head leaves and shoots are also used for consumption. China, India, Spain, Mexico, and Italy are the leading cauliflower producers in the world.

Main Difference - Broccoli vs Cauliflower

Difference Between Broccoli and Cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower may have substantially different properties and applications. These differences may include,

Cultivar Group

Broccoli belongs to Italica Group

Cauliflower belongs to Botrytis cultivar group

History and Origin

Broccoli was originated in Italy, more than 2,000 years ago.

Cauliflower was originated in Northeast Mediterranean.

Meaning of the Name

Broccoli is derived from Italian, and it means flowering crest of a cabbage

Cauliflower is derived from Latin, and it means the flowers of a cabbage


The fluorescence of broccoli is more loosely dispersed so that it’s easy to see spaces in between each stalk. This is like a tiny tree.

The fluorescence of cauliflower is more tightly dispersed and closely bunched tight masses. This is also like cumulus clouds.


Broccoli has a greener taste with a stronger flavor.

Cauliflower has an overall delicate taste compared to broccoli.


Broccoli has large green colored flower heads.

Cauliflower has large white color flower heads. But some varieties have orange or purple color flower heads.


Broccoli is not categorized into groups depending on the appearance and origin.

Cauliflowers can be categorized into four major groups depending on the appearance and origin such as Italian, Northern European annuals, Northwest European biennial and Asian.


There are three normally cultivated types of broccoli namely Calabrese broccoli, Sprouting broccoli and Purple cauliflower.

There are hundreds of historical and current commercial varieties of cauliflowers available in the world.


Broccoli contains more calories than cauliflower. (34 kcal/100g)

Cauliflower contains fewer calories than broccoli. (25 kcal/100g)


Vitamin A     

Broccoli contains more vitamin A than cauliflower. (31 μg/100g)

Cauliflower contains less or traces amounts of vitamin A than broccoli.

Vitamin K     

Broccoli contains more vitamin K than cauliflower. (101.6 μg/100g)

Cauliflower contains less vitamin K than broccoli. (15.5 μg/100g)

Vitamin C     

Broccoli contains more vitamin C than cauliflower. (89.2 mg/100g)

Cauliflower contains less vitamin C than broccoli. (48.2 mg/100g)


Broccoli contains more folate than cauliflower. (63 μg/100g)

Cauliflower contains less folate than broccoli. (57 μg/100g)


Broccoli contains isothiocyanates, glucosinolates, carotenoid compounds, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Cauliflower contains isothiocyanates and glucosinolates.

Difference Between Broccoli and Cauliflower - infographic

In conclusion, both broccoli and cauliflower are delicious and nutritious vegetables that derive from a flowering plant, but they are not botanically related to each other. According to Linus Pauling Institute recommendation, incorporation of at least 5 cups of these vegetables per week to your diet will give maximum health benefits.


Buck, P. A (1956) Origin and taxonomy of broccoli (PDF). Economic Botany 10 (3): 250–253.

Production/Crops, Quantities by Country for Cauliflowers and Broccoli for 2013. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Statistics Division (FAOSTAT). Retrieved 23 November 2015.

Dickson, M.H., Lee C.Y., Blamble A.E. (1988). Orange-curd high carotene cauliflower inbreds, NY 156, NY 163, and NY 165″. HortScience 23: 778–779.

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