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Brassica oleracea var. Acephala

Pronunciation: Bras-ee-ka awl-lur-ray-see-uh var, a-sef-uh-luh
Family: Brassicaceae/cruciferae (cabbage family)
Common Name: Kale, collards, flowering cabbage, cole
Plant Type:
  • perennial
  • biennial
  • annual
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • Not apply
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Description: Kale and collards are biennials and perennials, usually grown as annuals for their edible leaves which do not form dense heads like cabbage. Collards have thick, fleshy, smooth leaves up to 2 ft (0. 6 m) long and a 1. 5 ft (0. 5 m) wide. They have smooth margins and look like the outer or basal, non-heading leaves of cabbage. The lower leaves tend to sag down and the upper ones are more erect and cup-shaped.
Soil Type: Fertile well drianing moist soil
Propagation: Kale and collards are grown from seeds which germinate in 3-7 days.
Native to: The original wild cabbage (brassica oleracea ssp. Oleracea) from which kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and other crops were developed, still grows along the coasts of north africa and europe. Kale and collards probably were the first brassicas (probably the first plants! ) to be cultivated, and they are quite similar to the wild cabbage that still persists.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - harvest outer leaves from kale and collard plants for cooking as you need them. Collard leaves harvested in warm weather can be sweetened by storing in the refrigerator for a couple days before cooking. Collard plants in the kitchen garden that have survived a year or more often look like miniature palm trees or tree ferns, with a thick, 3 ft (0. 9 m) stem devoid of leaves along most its length, and a dense tuft of spreading leaves at the top. Southerners traditionally boil collards with some salt pork or ham, but too much cooking destroys their considerable nutritious value. Collards and kale have a milder, less tangy taste than mustard greens or turnip greens, and i like to mix them together and steam briefly in a vegetable steamer. Remove the thick stems and midribs for a smoother texture. A little butter and some salt and pepper is all they need, but vinegar is nice too. Use the young, frilly leaves of kale fresh in salads.
Located in: Biennial
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