The Largest Radish Ever Was As Big as a Baby Cow

Written by Katie Melynn Wood
Updated: October 30, 2023
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Enjoying a radish in a salad is easy to do. You can cut these root vegetables quickly and add them to leafy greens for an extra burst of color, flavor, and crunch. But one radish that was grown in Japan would be a little bit harder to chop up using your regular kitchen knife.

The new world record for the largest radish ever was set in 2023. Weighing 101 pounds, the radish beat the previous record set in 2003 by more than 30 pounds. It is now officially recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the heaviest radish ever grown.

It’s hard to picture just how large a 100-pound radish actually is. So let’s put it in perspective by comparing it to other things that weigh around the same amount.

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A baby hippo weighs between 66 and 110 pounds when it is born. Baby cows, or calves, weigh up to 90 pounds when they are born. This means that this giant radish was even heavier than a baby cow!

It took four people to pull the giant root out of the ground when it was ready to harvest. We’re not surprised, given its large size. Fortunately, the rest of the staff was there to provide support and capture photos of the monumental achievement.

the giant radish in Indian village

The new world record for a radish is over 100 pounds but other varieties can also grow quite large.

©Aknb/Shutterstock.com

Who Grew the Largest Radish?

The radish was grown by Manda Fermentation Co., a Japan-based company that specializes in fermented food products. According to their website, the company uses all parts of 53 fruits, vegetables, seeds, seaweed, and grains to create fermented blends that are close to nature. They have drinks, pastes, tablets, and other health food products.

They also produce fertilizers that use the same principles and ingredients to deliver nutrients to plants and soil. Manda Fermentation used the Manda Hakko to grow the radish that is now the world record holder. The company set out to break the previous world record as a way to promote its products and demonstrate just how effective its fertilizer formula is.

What Variety of Radish is the Largest?

The 101-pound radish is a cross between two varieties, the Sakurajima radish and the Taibyo-Sobutori radish. The Taibyo-Sobutori is the larger of the two but normally tops out around 13 or 14 pounds. Sakurajima radishes are typically closer to 4 or 5 pounds. Neither variety is known for reaching the colossal size of the hybrid that set the record.

The Sakurajima Mammoth, however, is a large variety. It can get up to 75 pounds or more, similar to this new record-holder.

Red radishes tend to be the most common and the ones that we see in grocery stores most often. They tend to be much smaller and even a bunch of 12 doesn’t often weigh a full pound. Instead, one bunch is closer to half or three-quarters of a pound, including the greens. More colorful varieties include the bright pink watermelon radishes, red and white Fire and Ice radishes, and royal purple radishes. There are even black varieties, including the long black Spanish and round black Spanish varieties.

Bunch of black radish on a wooden table.

Many radish varieties have a brilliant color on the outside and a white center, although some are colorful all the way through.

©Nadia Nice/Shutterstock.com

How Do Radishes Grow?

One of the biggest factors to consider when growing these plants is the spacing. With smaller varieties, a foot between seeds is sufficient. To grow this massive world record holder, the farmers left a three-foot gap between seedings.

Radishes also need plenty of water and warm temperatures, although they can’t tolerate extreme heat or cold. The roots should remain covered with soil, especially as the plant grows.

When cultivating their radishes, Manda Fermentation Co. planted 12 seedlings. As the plants grew, they thinned them out. This process requires the farmers to pull out the seedlings that don’t seem to be as healthy. This allows the soil’s nutrients to be directed to the healthiest and strongest plants. Over a couple of weeks, the seedlings were thinned out until only the top plant remained. It was this strong plant that eventually grew into the massive radish that broke the world record.

beet vs radish

The most common part of the radish to eat is actually the root of the plant which grows underground.

©nnattalli/Shutterstock.com

When Is a Radish Fully Grown?

Because a radish grows underground as the root of the plant, it can be hard to know when it is ready to harvest. Experienced growers rely on the greens on the top to tell them when it is time. Often when they reach their maximum expected length, the root underneath is fully grown as well. In this case, the greens were larger than most, just like the radish itself. They were a couple of feet high out of the ground and very robust.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Nastco


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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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