Description from Flora of China
Raphanus acanthiformis J. M. Morel; R. chinensis Miller (1768), not (Linnaeus) Crantz (1769); R. macropodus H. Léveillé; R. niger Miller; R. raphanistroides (Makino) Nakai; R. raphanistrum Linnaeus var. sativus (Linnaeus) Domin; R. sativus var. macropodus (H. Léveillé) Makino; R. sativus f. raphanistroides Makino; R. sativus var. raphanistroides (Makino) Makino; R. taquetii H. Léveillé.
Herbs annual or biennial, 10-130 cm tall, glabrous, scabrous, or hispid. Roots fleshy, white, pink, red, or black, linear, fusiform, oblong, or globose, 1-100 × 0.5-45 cm, sometimes slender and not fleshy. Stems simple or branched. Basal leaves with petioles 1-30 cm; leaf blade oblong, obovate, oblanceolate, or spatulate in outline, 2-60 × 1-20 cm, lyrate or pinnatisect, sometimes undivided, margin dentate, apex obtuse or acute; lateral lobes 1-12 on each side of midvein, sometimes absent, oblong or ovate, to 10 × 5 cm. Uppermost cauline leaves subsessile, often undivided, dentate. Fruiting pedicels divaricate or ascending, straight, 0.5-4 cm. Sepals narrowly oblong, 5.5-10 × 1-2 mm, glabrous or sparsely pubescent. Petals purple, pink, or sometimes white, often with darker veins, broadly obovate, 1.2-2.2 cm × 3-8 mm, apex obtuse or emarginate; claw to 1.4 cm. Filaments slender, 5-12 mm; anthers 1.5-2 mm, sagittate at base. Fruit fusiform or lanceolate, sometimes ovoid or cylindric; seedless valvular segment 1-3.5 mm; seed-bearing distal segment (1-)3-15(-25) × (0.5-)0.7-1.3(-1.5) cm, corky, rounded at base, conical at apex, smooth or rarely slightly constricted between seeds, not ribbed; style 1-4 cm; stigma entire. Seeds globose or ovoid, 2.5-4 mm in diam. Fl. and fr. depending on cultivation time. 2n = 18*.
Long cultivated in E Asia primarily as a vegetable and medicinal plant. A very variable species with regard to fleshy root color, shape, and size, plant height, degree of division and size of leaves, flower color, and fruit shape and size. Numerous infraspecific taxa have been recognized, and their taxonomy is controversial and highly confused. The interested reader should consult Pistrick (Kulturpflanze 35: 225-321. 1987). Perhaps the most interesting cultivar, which is grown primarily in China and Japan, is var. longipinnatus L. H. Bailey, with roots to 50 kg in weight and to 1 m in length and enormous rosettes to 2 m in diam.
Fields, roadsides, waste areas. Throughout China [native to the Mediterranean region; cultivated worldwide].