Sea-kale Crambe maritima L.

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Waxy leaves


Seed pods

Young Sea Kale Young  Sea-kale

Colony Sea-kale colony 
Sea-kale is a long-lived perennial plant and established individuals may reach several meters in diameter.  In successive years the leaves produced become progressively larger reaching well over 50 cm in old plants. They have a thick waxy covering which keeps them waterproof.  First flowering does not generally occur before the plant is at least five years old. Flowering branches covered with small white flowers are produced  from early May to mid-August.

The fruit ripens a few months after flowering and the whole flowering branch including the fruit dries out and generally break off from the plant, a process hastened by strong winds. An average plant produces 5-10,000 seeds a year.At the end of the growing season, the above ground parts of the plant die back and the underground parts alone survive the winter. Each spring, the previous year's flowering branch produces a succession of cabbage-like leaves. The first leaves are a deep vivid crimson-purple, successive leaves becoming greener

Being generally restricted to shingle Sea-kale is a rare plant, although it may be locally abundant where it is found, forming impressive colonies. This plant is protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981) and must not be picked without permission from the landowner. Sea-kale is even rarer in France and is protected by national law.
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