Note: Do not rely on this information. It is very old.
RapeRape, the general name for several races of Brassica campestris, cultivated for the sake of the oil in their seeds, and differing by constant characters from turnips or swedes. We import considerable quantities from India and Russia. In Germany three sub-races are recognised, each with summer and winter, or annual and biennial, varieties, differing in the colour of their radical leaves and in the size and colour of their seeds. These are colza (q.v.) with ruddy brown seeds, 1,000 of which weigh 29 grains; rubsen, with almost black seeds, 1,000 of which weigh 34 grains; and rape, with blue-black seeds twice as heavy as those of rubsen. The seeds yield from 30 to 45 per cent. of a sherry-coloured oil, with a specific gravity over -911, consisting of olein, stearin, and a third fat, almost peculiar to Cruciferse. Rape-oil is used for food in India and Germany; but elsewhere mainly for lubrication, mineral oils having largely superseded it as illuminants.