An Aristocratic Vegetable

Sea kale Crambe maritima is sometimes referred to as the King of the Vegetables (Queen is perhaps more fitting!) . This is partly due to the fact that it was in the past cultivated in heated greenhouses for nobility in the UK for Christmas! Maybe not the King, it is certainly an aristocrat and the easiest perennial brassica in cold climates (along wtih even hardier Crambe cordifolia) as it is hardier than perennial kales as it resprouts from the roots every spring and can easily be covered by a mulch of leaves or suchlike in colder climates. I do this every autumn just in case we have a very cold winter (I have experienced plants to resprout from deep roots when the surface roots have been killed in winter). I would normally take off the leaf mulch early April, but this winter it’s been so mild I removed it a few days ago and the plant had already put out delicious sprouts…I’ve been snacking on them! My oldest sea kale is approaching 40 years old, but hasn’t appeared yet (oldies sleep longer I guess!). Much more about Sea Kale in my book Around the World in 80 plants or by searching here:

They are also beautiful. The pictures show the cultivar Lily White which is only about 8 years old.

2 thoughts on “An Aristocratic Vegetable”

  1. I purchased crambe cordifolia seeds in the spring and got one strong healthy start out of them which is planted out and thriving.

    The leaves appear very different from maritime. In fact, they look a lot more like horseradish leaves. But darker and bigger. Assuming I have the right plant.

    They aren’t sea green and leathery like maritime They are deeper green and very crinkly. And the flavor can be spicy hot like horseradish. At least the plant I have that is supposed to be cordifolia.

    Does that sound like a typical Cordifolia to you or does it sound like I possibly got seed for the wrong plant?

    Thank you!

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