Press Releases

DATE2021.06.02 #Press Releases

The history of the breeding of mibuna, a traditional Kyoto vegetable, is elucidated!

Disclaimer: machine translated by DeepL which may contain errors.

Kyoto Sangyo University

Nagoya University

The University of Tokyo

Meiji University

Utsunomiya University

Ryukoku University

Kyoto Prefectural University


Mibuna is a Kyoto-style vegetable that originated in the Mibu region of Kyoto. Mibuna is the same species as mizuna, another Kyoto vegetable, but mizuna leaves are jagged with lobes, while mibuna leaves have a simple round spatula shape.

It was known that mibuna was created in the process of mizuna cultivation, but the crop depicted as 'mibuna' in an old document entitled "Shuai Miyako Meisho Zue (Illustrations of Famous Places in the Capital)" in 1787 shows leaves with a slit like those of the present mizuna. When and how this jagged shape of the 'Mibuna' became the spatula shape seen on today's mibuna less than 250 years ago was unknown.

A joint research group of Kyoto Sangyo University, The University of Tokyo, Nagoya University, Meiji University, Utsunomiya University, Kyoto University, Ryukoku University, and Kyoto Prefectural University has discovered that turnips, which are also members of the Brassicaceae family, may have been involved in the birth of the mibuna, and using this as a clue, they have now conducted a research combining a literature survey and genetic analysis, referring to other ancient documents. This time, we have proceeded with research combining literature survey and genetic analysis, referring to other ancient documents, and clarified the process and genetic background of the mibuna, a new variety of traditional vegetable, which branched off from mizuna.

Figure: Upper row: leaf and plant morphology of mizuna (a, b) and mibuna (c, d).
Lower row: The cultivation of 'Mibuna' is recorded in "Chikuge Miyako Meisho Zue" (1787) (red line in the figure added by the author). The 'Mibuna' depicted here has lobed leaves like today's mizuna.

The results of this research were published in the international journal Horticulture Research on June 2.

Assistant Professor Hokuto Nakayama of the Department of Biological Sciences participated in the research results.

For more information, please visit the Kyoto Sangyo University website.