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Cole vs. Cabbage: What's the Difference?

By Janet White & Aimie Carlson || Updated on May 22, 2024
"Cole" refers to plants in the brassica family, including cabbage, while "cabbage" specifically denotes the leafy green vegetable known for its dense, round head.

Key Differences

"Cole" is a term derived from the Latin "caulis," meaning stem or stalk, and it broadly refers to plants in the brassica family, such as broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. This term encompasses a variety of vegetables that share common characteristics, including their nutritional profiles and growing conditions. "Cabbage," on the other hand, refers specifically to the leafy green, red, or white vegetable known for its dense, round head. Cabbage is one of the many plants categorized under "cole" crops. It's widely used in salads, soups, and fermented dishes like sauerkraut.
While "cole" represents a broader category, including various brassicas, "cabbage" is more narrowly defined. The term "cole" is often used in agricultural and gardening contexts to group related plants, whereas "cabbage" is used more commonly in culinary contexts to specify the particular vegetable.
In terms of cultivation, cole crops, including cabbage, thrive in cooler weather and can be grown in similar soil and climatic conditions. However, the growing requirements for each type of cole crop can slightly differ, with cabbage needing specific care to ensure its head forms properly.
Nutritionally, all cole crops, including cabbage, are rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C and K. Cabbage, specifically, is known for its high fiber content and versatility in various culinary applications.
Using "cole" in a conversation about gardening or farming indicates a broader discussion about brassica plants, whereas using "cabbage" directs the conversation to a specific type of vegetable, its uses, and benefits.

Comparison Chart


A group of brassica family plants
A specific leafy vegetable


Includes broccoli, kale, etc.
Specifically refers to cabbage

Usage Context

Agricultural, gardening
Culinary, nutritional

Nutritional Content

Rich in vitamins, varies by plant
High in fiber, vitamin C and K

Growing Conditions

Cool weather crops
Specific care for head formation

Cole and Cabbage Definitions


Refers to any plant in the brassica family.
Farmers plant various cole crops, such as broccoli and kale.


A leafy green, red, or white vegetable with a dense head.
She made a fresh cabbage salad for dinner.


Includes leafy and flowering vegetables.
The garden's cole section had kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.


Used in salads, soups, and fermented dishes.
Sauerkraut is made by fermenting cabbage.


Is used in agricultural contexts to describe related plants.
Crop rotation often includes cole crops to maintain soil health.


Thrives in cooler weather with specific care needs.
Proper watering and spacing help cabbage form firm heads.


Grows best in cooler climates.
Cole crops thrive in the fall and spring seasons.


Any of several forms of a vegetable (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) of the mustard family, having a globose head consisting of a short stem and tightly overlapping green to purplish leaves.


See kale.


Any of several similar or related plants, such as Chinese cabbage.




The terminal bud of several species of palm, eaten as a vegetable.


Brassica; a plant of the Brassica genus, especially those of Brassica oleracea (rape and coleseed).


(Slang) Money, especially in the form of bills.


(Scotland) A stack or stook of hay.


(Informal) Sweetheart; dear. Used as a term of endearment.


A plant of the Brassica or Cabbage genus; esp. that form of Brassica oleracea called rape and coleseed.


An edible plant (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) having a head of green leaves.


A hardy cabbage with coarse curly leaves that do not form a head


(uncountable) The leaves of this plant eaten as a vegetable.
Cabbage is good for you.


Coarse curly-leafed cabbage


A person with severely reduced mental capacities due to brain damage.
After the car crash, he became a cabbage.


Encompasses vegetables like broccoli and cabbage.
Cole vegetables are often rich in vitamins and minerals.


Used as a term of endearment.




Marijuana leaf, the part that is not smoked but from which cannabutter can be extracted.


The terminal bud of certain palm trees, used for food.


The cabbage palmetto (Sabal palmetto), a palm of the southeastern US coasts and nearby islands.


Leftover scraps of fabric.


Scraps of cloth which are left after a garment has been cut out, which tailors traditionally kept.


(intransitive) To form a head like that of the cabbage.
To make lettuce cabbage


To do nothing; to idle; veg out.


(transitive) To purloin or embezzle; to pilfer, to steal.


An esculent vegetable of many varieties, derived from the wild Brassica oleracea of Europe. The common cabbage has a compact head of leaves. The cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc., are sometimes classed as cabbages.


The terminal bud of certain palm trees, used, like, cabbage, for food. See Cabbage tree, below.


The cabbage palmetto. See below.


Cloth or clippings cabbaged or purloined by one who cuts out garments.


To form a head like that the cabbage; as, to make lettuce cabbage.


To purloin or embezzle, as the pieces of cloth remaining after cutting out a garment; to pilfer.
Your tailor . . . cabbages whole yards of cloth.


Any of various types of cabbage


Informal terms for money


Any of various cultivars of the genus Brassica oleracea grown for their edible leaves or flowers


Make off with belongings of others


Known for its high fiber content.
Cabbage is a great addition to a high-fiber diet.


Grown for its edible leaves.
The farmer harvested a large crop of cabbage this season.


What are some examples of cole crops?

Examples include broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

How is cabbage commonly used?

Cabbage is used in salads, soups, and fermented dishes like sauerkraut.

Is cabbage a type of cole?

Yes, cabbage is one of the many cole crops.

What is cole?

Cole refers to plants in the brassica family, such as broccoli and kale.

What is cabbage?

Cabbage is a specific vegetable known for its dense, leafy head.

What are the nutritional benefits of cole crops?

They are rich in vitamins, especially vitamins C and K.

How do you care for cabbage plants?

Proper spacing, watering, and pest control help ensure healthy cabbage heads.

What are some dishes made with cabbage?

Dishes include coleslaw, cabbage soup, and kimchi.

Can cole crops be grown together?

Yes, they often grow well together and can benefit from similar soil conditions.

What pests commonly affect cabbage?

Common pests include cabbage worms and aphids.

Is cabbage high in fiber?

Yes, cabbage is high in dietary fiber.

Are all cole crops leafy vegetables?

No, some cole crops like cauliflower focus on their flowering parts.

What is the origin of the term cole?

The term comes from the Latin "caulis," meaning stem or stalk.

Do cole crops require special soil?

They prefer well-drained, fertile soil with adequate organic matter.

What climates are best for growing cole crops?

Cole crops thrive in cooler climates, particularly in spring and fall.

Can cabbage be stored for long periods?

Yes, cabbage can be stored in cool, dry places for several weeks.

Can cabbage be eaten raw?

Yes, cabbage can be eaten raw in salads and slaws.

Is cabbage a cool-weather crop?

Yes, cabbage grows best in cooler weather.

What is the difference between green and red cabbage?

The difference lies in their color and slight variation in flavor and nutrients.

Can cole crops be used in crop rotation?

Yes, they are often included in crop rotation plans to maintain soil health.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Co-written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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