Radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, mustards, and other members of the cabbage family produce a special type of seed pod called a silique [se-LEEK] or siliqua [sil-eh-KWA].
What is a pod?
Pods are made from carpels. Carpels are the female reproductive organs of a plant. The pods of legumes are made from a single carpel, while members of the cabbage family produce pods made from two carpels that have been fused. The pods made from fused carpels are called silique.
Pods are a type of dehiscent fruit. Dehiscent means that the structure opens spontaneously when its contents are mature. If a pod does not open automatically, it is called indehiscent. In either case, pods are made up of two identical long halves and they contain seeds. Those halves are the outer walls of the ovary. The two halves are joined along a seam, called a suture. Held between those two halves is a ribbon of seed-bearing tissue called the septum.
There are two categories of Brassica pods: siliqua and silicula. The difference between the two is simply the pod dimensions. If the length of the pod is more than three times the width, it is a silique. If the length is less than three times the width, it is a silicula (or silicle).
If you allow your radishes and other Brassicas to go to seed, you will see siliquae for yourself, plus you will have seeds for next year’s crop!
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!