Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sea Kale

Crambe

Crambe cordifolia ( Giant Heartleaf Sea Kale )
A fast growing to invasive, very long-lived, massive, woody-based perennial, reaching a maximum size of 10 x 7 ( rarely over 8 x 6 ) feet. It is native to grasslands in the northern Caucasus in western Asia.
The huge, toothed, deeply-lobed, heart-shaped, cabbage-like leaves, up to 3 ( usually 1.5 ) feet across, are mid to deep green. The foliage forms a large mound.
The very small, white flowers, up to 0.3 inches wide, are borne on airy open panicles, up to 4 feet across, during early to mid summer.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 in full sun to partial shade on consistently moist, deep, rich, well drained soil. Plant on a protected site as high winds could knock over the massive flower heads. Clumps can be divided during early spring. Propagation can also be achieved through seed or root cuttings. It is not prone to insect pests or disease other than possible root rot on heavy poorly drained soil.

* historical archive photo


Crambe maritima ( Sea Kale )
A vigorous, woody-based perennial, reaching a maximum size of 3.3 x 4 feet; that is native to Europe from the British Isles to the Baltic coastline to the Black Sea. It is usually found on sandy beaches within its natural range.
The thick, fleshy, cabbage-like leaves, up to 24 x 24 inches, are glossy silvery-blue to blue-green.
It is edible, the shoots can be served steamed like Asparagus with melted butter, salt and pepper.
The profuse, white flowers are borne on sprays, up to 2 feet in length, during early to mid summer.
Hardy zones 4 to 8 in full sun to partial shade on sandy, very well drained soil. The strong deep root system hates transplanting. It can be propagated form seed or root cuttings.

* photos taken on Aug 1 2013 in Stratford, Ontario

* photos taken @ Smithsonian Inst, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014


* video found on Youtube

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