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Cabbage, Sea-Kale—Brassica oleracea L. (Tronchuda group)1

James M. Stephens 2

This cabbage-like plant is easily confused with sea-kale (Crambe maritima) due to the similarity of common names. Sea-kale cabbage is classified as one of the Savoy cabbages, meaning its leaves are crinkled rather than smooth. Other names for it are couve tronchuda, Braganza cabbage, and Portugal cabbage.


Figure 1. Sea-kale cabbage
Figure 1.  Sea-kale cabbage
Credit: James M. Stephens



The plant resembles a thick-stemmed collard with large floppy leaves. It is reported to form a loose head, but in Florida trials it remained open. Leaves are close together, round, smooth, and slightly notched at the margins.


Sea-kale cabbage should be grown at the same time of the year and by the same methods proven successful for other forms of cabbage. Frost does not bother it, and the lack of cold weather probably was the cause for its failure to form a head in Gainesville, FL. In the Florida trials it was attacked by cabbage worms, notably cabbage loopers and imported cabbage worms.


Prepare and serve sea-kale cabbage as a cooking green.


1. This document is HS570, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date May 1994. Revised August 2015. Reviewed October 2018. Visit the EDIS website at
2. James M. Stephens, professor emeritus, Horticultural Sciences Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #HS570

Release Date:October 29, 2018

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