Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

rampion Campanula rapunculus, was a popular vegetable in many European countries, including Britain, in the 16th and 17th centuries; Evelyn (1699) remarked that its tender roots, eaten in the spring, were comparable to the radish but much more nourishing. However, like many other root vegetables, the rampion lost popularity as the potato gained acceptance. It is still occasionally used in France and Switzerland, but is now largely forgotten. Indeed, some English-speaking people are likely to know of it only by its German name, because of the Grimm brothers’ fairy story ‘Rapunzel’. In this tale a witch imprisoned the daughter of a woman who stole rampion (Rapunzel); a sign of the regard in which it was once held.