Most living near-by know canola when they see it, but others may not recognize their cooking oil in its natural state. Canola was developed at the University of Manitoba from rapeseed, and thus the “can” in canola stands for Canada.
The “ola” was just added to help the word roll off the tongue, like Mazola and Ricola. The word “rape” in rapeseed comes from the Latin for turnip, so some of canola’s relatives are the turnip, cabbage, rutabaga, Brussels sprout, and mustard. Besides human and livestock consumption, canola can also be used as a biofuel. Hundreds of years ago, rapeseed oil was already used as a lamp oil in Europe and Asia.
An advantage to it being used as a crop on the plains is its great drought resistance. Ninety percent of the nation’s canola is grown in North Dakota, but each year it appears more like Oklahoma farmers are wanting to challenge their dominance in its production.