Had to wait about half an hour for this light, but glad I did!
Canola was developed through conventional plant breeding from rapeseed, an oilseed plant already used in ancient civilization as a fuel. The word “rape” in rapeseed comes from the Latin word “rapum,” meaning turnip.
Turnip, rutabaga, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mustard, and many other vegetables are related to the two natural canola varieties commonly grown, which are cultivars of Brassica napus and Brassica rapa. The change in name serves to distinguish it from natural rapeseed oil, which has much higher erucic acid content.
Hundreds of years ago, rapeseed oil was used as a fuel in lamps in Asia and Europe. The Chinese and Indians used a form of rapeseed oil that was unrefined (natural). Its use was limited until the development of steam power, when machinists found rapeseed oil clung to water- or steam-washed metal surfaces better than other lubricants.
World War II saw high demand for the oil as a lubricant for the rapidly increasing number of steam engines in naval and merchant ships. When the war blocked European and Asian sources of rapeseed oil, a critical shortage developed and Canada began to expand its limited rapeseed production.