Information on Sea-kale

Common Name: Sea-kale
Scientific Name: Crambe maritima
Irish Name: Praiseach thrá
Family Group: Brassicaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Sea-kale is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.

This is a distinctive, large, fleshy, perennial plant which is quite a rarity in Ireland. It is a coastal species which closely resembles a great big cabbage plant with its broad, succulent, waxy, wavy leaves. They are green-grey in colour, sometimes with a tinge of purple and are completely hairless. From May to July this plant bears large flat-topped clusters of white flowers (6-14 mm across). Although it is a large plant, it only reaches about 70 cm in height being wider than tall. In August and September, the fruits are formed. They are round pods, each containing one – occasionally two - seeds. It grows mainly on seaside shingle and sandy beaches above the high tide line. It is a native plant and belongs to the Brassicaceae family. 

I first saw this plant and photographed it in August, 2011 after Sam Connolly at had kindly told me where I might find it. It was growing in shingle along the east coast, north of Wicklow town. I am very grateful to Sam for his help in locating this rare species.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

This species is classed as NEAR THREATENED in the Red Data List of Vascular Plants 2016.

Sea-kale is a halophyte, that is to say it is a species which can tolerate or even need salt water or spray for its survival. It is pollinated by many insects as it has a fragrant aroma.