FOR PROS
Business tools custom-built for our industry

Say 'so long' to generic business software. Houzz Pro is designed for industry professionals like you.

embeadke

Tree Collards

embeadke
14 years ago

Has anyone heard of tree collards? About 5 years ago I contacted a seed company looking for amaranths to grow as greens. The woman I spoke to told me which varieties she had but she said she was also experimenting with a plant called the tree collard. She said the plant was a vine that grew up trees and that the leaves could be eaten like collard leaves.She said that the plant was popular in the Compton California area in the black community. I did not get any seeds for the plant that year but the next year when I was ready to try the tree collard, I could not get in touch with the woman who told me about the tree collards.

I have looked for the plant on the internet and when I type in tree collard all I get is a description of a tall regular collard plant with the lower leaves plucked off ( and that is not what I am looking for).

If you have heard of this plant please give some information on it.

Comments (42)

  • gardenguru1950

    Could it be Basella rubra alba ("MALABAR SPINACH") or Basella rubra 'Rubra' (Ceylon spinach) or Boussingaultia cordifolia (MADEIRA VINE)?

    The common names notwithstanding, all of these have husky-savoy edible leaves (= collard-like) and all,from what I've seen, have been grown in Southern California.

    Joe

  • habitat_gardener

    Common Ground in Palo Alto sells tree collards in 4-inch pots. I will look at them the next time I go to see what species they are. Or you can call, (650) 493-6072. They do not do mail order; the Bountiful Gardens catalog is the mail-order branch, but I did not see tree collards listed in the catalog.

    I have seen them growing at John Jeavons's farm in Willits, CA. They are not a vine; they grow like collards but are 6 feet high and are perennial.

  • Related Discussions

    Too many different colors of wood?

    Q

    Comments (109)
    Oh my gosh, collard5 - I love your changes. The great dining room chairs look so nice without any rug there. The most amazing thing is how much difference the new bar stools make. What a great choice. Also, I noticed you changed the chandelier shades from white to black. That's nice too.
    ...See More

    POLL: Fall Veggies

    Q

    Comments (42)
    These days with all the GMO products, pesticide/herbicide etc in commercial foods, the only food we trust to eat is that which I plant, tend, harvest and can or freeze myself. Its a shame it has to be that way and its alot of work, but I feel better and safer eating my garden/ orchard's produce than anything from the store. So this fall I have beets, haricot vertes, spinach, lettuce, kale, garlic, sweet potatoes and snap peas still going strong. Everything else is finished for the year except for apples and quince in the orchard.
    ...See More

    Anyone tried aquaponics?

    Q

    Comments (33)
    yes we did a whole eco system. Aquaponics - we grew the duck weed to feed the fish, the fish fed the plants and the plants fed us. it was really great, however when the intense heat of the summer came the fish were in the pond and with no shade. in florida the poor fish cooked and was sad. next time we will have a shaded pond. the water barrel is now inclosed in foam and the water stays cool enough to do hydroponics, we also bought and grew hydroponically in gutter system. way cool. next want to work with areo ponics which is what NASA uses so i've heard. I just love growing our own food. lived on property for 30 years (no pesticides) No chemicals (free range chickens), We all need to be responsible for our planet. Pesticides hurt our environment i.e., bees and other creatures like us! I was raised in the nursery business and used to hate it as a child, but learned to love it and nature and the miracle of herbs and their healing properties. I was taught by and old indian woman when i was young how to gather herb and such, only taking what i needed and to give back to the planet. Also my Uncle who owned his own pharmacy told me every medicine came back to herbs, leaves, roots, tree barks, molds, fungus's. Too many of the people rely on synthetic drugs, (which all started with two really great sales men), that have side effects or are taken wrong. example colds people automatically ask for antibiotic. Which they don't need at the time which cause supperbugs. Now I'm not saying that doctors aren't needed just that you have to have an open mind and look at the other options also! and yes I'M A TREE HUGGER! hahahahahh dj
    ...See More

    What to do with "too much" room

    Q

    Comments (16)
    Wow you guys are amazing! I have the chooks, and we are getting sheep next year, probably pigs too. We also have ducks and geese around the pond, turkeys and rabbits, The garden was put in this year with the help of the greenhouse and I am raising tomatoes, peppers, all the spices, lettuce, cabbage, etc. in the greenhouse. The Garden has had throughout this year; tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, black beans, pumpkins, cantaloup, zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan squash (not sure what to do with them!), winter squash, sweet potatoes, corn, edamame, kidney beans, purple hull peas, beets, and just planted carrots, kale, kohlrabi, collards, and mustard seeds. Oh and broccoli and brussel sprouts too. The garden I got. I can figure out what to do there. It is the yard that I have trouble with. We have an orchard planted and a 200' long grape arbor. Next year I plan on building the second greenhouse and starting an aquaponics system in it so we can raise fish as well. We are sustainable farmers. One of my dreams at one time was to have an olive grove but they don't do well in my climate here (SE VA). We have a 1/4 acre pond on the premises and my wife wants a fire pit and swing gazebo built there (basically a gazebo with porch swings around the exterior and a fire pit in the middle). I love the idea of blending a theme throughout the property. Thank you all so much. Lots of good ideas here!!!
    ...See More
  • embeadke

    Thanks for the info Gardenguru 1950. It is possible that any of the vining plants you mentioned could be the tree collard. If a tree collard fell on me I would not know what it is becasue I have not seen one and I have limited information about it. One great thing about seaching for one thing is that you can find other great things while searching. The tree collard from Common Ground that you mentioned, Habitat Gardener, sounds great. If the leaves of the plant taste like collards and if the plant is big and perennial that would be great! I will give the folks at Common Ground a call and see if I can get more info. Thank you.

  • gardenguru1950

    John Jeavons is growing one of the "tree cabbages". There are a few including some called "tree kale" or "tree collards". They're all related and basically they're perennial collards/cabbage/kale that grow slowly on an upright husky central stem, getting 3 to 6 feet tall with a nice crown of leaves at the very top.

    Essenitally, they look like "tall regular collards with the lower leaves plucked off" as embeadke originally said.

    They are not vines in any stretch of the definition. They are big, they are edible, and thy are perennial, though. Maybe these really are what you want after all.

    Joe

  • howigetby

    Hi,

    I have grown tree collards and am once again looking for seeds. I have not been able to find any online except for the "Walking Stick Kale" variety. I am usually only able to get seeds when I know someone else that is growing them.

    I find that the seeds are slow to germinate and the germination rate is rather poor. When I have a plant I allow it to seed itself and replant the starts when they get big enough.

    I am looking for seeds (or plants) now, so if anyone knows of a source, I'd really appreciate it.

    Nothing better than having fresh collards for Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years!

  • climbthemtns_gmail_com

    I have grown Tree Collards for years. I make new plants from cuttings. If you are in the SF Bay Area, I can get cuttings to you. Let me know.

    I've had them eight feet tall and three feet wide.

  • habitat_gardener

    I got one plant as an 18-inch cutting from someone else's tree collards (it's taken a couple years to get prolific enough to harvest), and another as a seed-grown walking kale (as a 3-inch plant from a plant exchange). They now look identical, with purple-tinged collardlike leaves (the older leaves, and more purple as the weather gets colder), though the latter is 3 times as big as the former. One person walking through the community garden said she used to have collards like these, with the purple cast, growing up over her house, 20 ft. long stems. Another person said these purple-tinged ones taste the best. I agree -- regular collards don't do nearly as well and don't have the sweetness of the tree collard or walking kale.

    I've been reading the new book _Perennial Vegetables_ by Eric Toensmeier. He calls it Brassica oleracea acephala 'Tree Collards' , 'Walking Stick Kale' -- he calls it "an heirloom variety or cluster of varieties" -- and says he got a plant from the Bay Area Seed Interchange Library (at the Ecology Center in Berkeley). He does say he grew one variety from seed and was unimpressed by the "rubbery texture and strong cabbage flavor of the leaves" but that the plant he got (with purple leaves in cool weather) "tastes fantastic."

    He mentions 2 other types of perennial kale: B. a. p. 'Western Front' from Peters Seed and Research (strongly resembles Red Russian kale) and B. a. p. (Tropical Tree Kale).

    I've been harvesting a grocery bagful every couple weeks or so, year-round. Last January I thought I may have overpicked because they wilted during the low temperatures (in the 20s), but they revived within a week.

  • climbthemtns

    I've gotten heaps of requests for my Tree Collards; even a request from Dublin, Ireland.
    It's hard to believe that there aren't nurseries out there growing and selling this awesome Perennial vegetable. I can't imagine a garden without the Mighty Tree Collard.
    I've now got twenty starts from one of my trees that's 8' high. Feel free to email me if you want a start. To cover my time and the shipping cost, I'm asking for $15 per start.

    Michael

  • sputnikfarm

    I saw some in 1 gal. pots at Moneta nursery in Gardena a few weeks ago. I have seen the seeds on ebay, as 'walking stick kale'. I was trying to talk Mrs. holedigger into liking them because I thought that they would fit into our tropical garden, looking like a palm or a papaya (ok that's a stretch). They are the most architectural vegetable plant I've seen with the possible exception of Amaranth "Love Lies Bleeding". I got a thumbs down on the tree collards, but a rousing thumbs up on the amaranth.

    What do tree collards taste like and how do you prepare them?

  • climbthemtns

    Oh My! Tree collards in the Winter and Spring have a sweet flavor. The leaves turn a purple shade with the cold. They are much sweeter than regular collard greens. And yes, they have a lovely architectural design as long as you keep pruning them. Make sure to put a solid 6' plus stake in when you plant them as they have a very, very slight root structure. You must convince your wife that they will compliment your garden and your palate. Here's a recipe to help. Squeeze half a lemon in a small bowel. Add two tablespoons of olive oil. Add one small crushed garlic. Steam your collards and then cover them with the olive oil, garlic, lemon, salt mix.

  • ccdry

    had one years ago that grew much like gardenguru1950's description (about 4' tall, a few wiggly main stems). i no longer recall exact flavor, but recall that it tasted worse than normal collards (compared to kale? I can't recall kale flavor).

    chard and rhubarb are very "architectural". might also consider opuntia (leaf pads are the veggie).

  • newsgirlinos_yahoo_com

    I have a few for sale on eBay--Remember these trees will supply collards for up to 20 years!
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150235759043

    TREE COLLARDS.
    Hardy to zone 7
    Not frost tender.
    Edibility 4/5

    This plant grows about 5-6 feet tall and wide, living for up to 20 years. It has mild flavoured dark green leaves that are wrinkled and look rather like Savoy cabbage leaves, though the plant does not form a heart. You harvest the young shoots when they are about 10 inches long and cook them stem and all. They are an excellent cabbage substitute and taste best after they have been frosted in late fall and early winter. The leaves can be harvested year around in most climates even when there is snow on the ground.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Massive Tree Collard on Parade!

  • habitat_gardener

    My leaves are flat, as are all the ones I saw at the Bountiful Gardens farm in Willits, and all the ones I've seen in gardens around here (SF Bay Area). They are *very* easy to propagate -- I potted up some stems that broke off in the February storm when it fell over, and gave away most of them to anyone who walked by and admired the plant.

  • cali1023

    Centrose Nursery in Gardena specializes in vegetables and I know they do a pretty good business in tree collards. Saw a bunch of them there this past weekend. They're quite beautiful!

    525 E Rosecrans Ave
    Gardena, CA 90248
    (310) 324-2004

  • enuzzle

    How tall does a tree collard grow. Also does it ever go to seed like regular collards. will a regualr collard ever turn into a tree?

  • cali1023

    I think they get about five feet tall at least, and they DEFINITELY flower in the spring (the beneficial bugs go CRAZY), so I assume there are seeds there somewhere...

  • skrip

    Wow, I have learned a lot from you guys. Had no clue about this plant, I think I want to try it out! thanks!

  • habitat_gardener

    Mine are 7 ft. tall, and someone who visited my garden said she had tree collards growing up over her house -- 30 ft. or more!

    Mine have never gone to seed. I've had them 3-5 years. But I have seen seed for sale, so they must go to seed sometime.

    A regular collard will not turn into a tree. I've grown regular collards. They go to seed in the spring, the leaves get rattier, and they decline.

    I have kept russian kale plants and dinosaur (also called black and tuscan) kale plants going for a couple years. They get taller and the leaves get smaller, but as long as the buggy and mildewed leaves are pruned off and the stems that want to bolt are cut back, they'll keep going.

    But the tree kale/collard leaves get bigger! and they don't go to seed in the spring. They want to flop over and sprawl all over the place, but I keep them trained on a trellis, so it looks like I'm growing a kale tree.

  • amy_jpc_gmail_com

    My tree collards are being shipped tomorrow from Willits. I read about staking them, any other tips for getting them started? Sounds like I need to protect them from our Santa Anas with their shallow root system. What about shade/sun? I know there'll be a flyer about care and tending, but after reading this conversation I want to go get the place ready for the cuttings ASAP!

  • climbthemtns

    OK Tree Collard-Loving Folks:

    I've got a three page fact sheet with everything you ever wanted to know about Tree Collards but could never find on the Internet that needs to be typed up and posted somewhere (HERE!) on the Net so others can have access to it.

    Who has the time and inclination to type it up? Let me know and I'll mail it to you. I've barely got enough time to keep up with growing and shipping them.

    Cheers,
    Michael (Walnut Creek) 925 899 2785

  • climbthemtns

    I've had requests from Europe for seed. Well, a most unusual thing is happening with about ten or so of my three month old cuttings: THEY ARE FLOWERING!!!*** This is really unusual since I've only seen five year old or older plants going to flower and most of the time those plants only have a few flowers on them.

    SO~ I'll have seeds available for anyone in Europe that wants some. Plants are still available to US folks.

  • jashstokes

    I have always called them Collard Trees because that is what the person called them who gave my mother some pieces that she broke off her plants. That was back in the 80's. I grew them from that time until I moved from Los Angeles to Ohio in 1999. While living in Los Angeles, I sent broken off plants to a friend in Ohio every year. They were taken iniside when the weather changed but they never lasted through the winter.
    I have been looking for plants for a couple of years. I have tried to grow the "Walking Stick Kale" but either the seeds do not germinate or the plants die after a short time. If they last until winter, they die during the cold weather.
    The plants that I grew in Los Angeles never flowered and therefore never produced seeds. I just broke off a piece and stuck it in the ground, viola, a new plant.
    I have pictures of my collard tree garden in my yard in Los Angeles.
    I really want to grow those beautiful plants again. They are very good to eat. My mother cooked them often when she visited me.
    Someone out there please tell me where I can get some plants. I would also like to share the photos of the plants that I left in Los Angeles. I left them because I did not have a place in Ohio. The new owners of my Los Angeles home promised me that I could get some plants later but they refused when I asked.

  • mirandagardener

    Hi,

    I have been reading this thread with interest. I bought 3 "walking stick kale" from Annie's Annuals. They look more like collards than kale to me. I am just going to assume they are all pretty much tree collards. One of my plants is dark purple, one barely has any purple tinge, and the other is in between. They are growing fast, but I haven't put them outside full time because they came from a warmer climate and was worried they might freeze. However, now I have a mouse in my green house who has girdled one plant and nibbled the other two! I am happy to hear they will grow from cuttings, as I put the top part in one pot and re-potted the bottom deep enough to cover the chewed area. This was several days ago, but the rodent has been back nightly for more, even with moving the plants and putting deer and rabbit repellant on them. I have a good mouser cat, but she can't get into the greenhouse at night because I have it fenced off for rabbits, which were also getting in there! It is a tent type greenhouse.

    I'm going to take a chance on the cold and plant one of the 'tree collards' next to my abode, where the cat can keep watch on it. They are getting too big to carry in and out daily anyway. I hope at least one survives, as I was really looking forward to the harvest. We ate several leaves from the worst-chewed one, and they were quite tasty but the leaf stalks were tough. We just added them raw to a salad.

  • veggiechef_gmail_com

    UPDATE: What's the difference between Tree Collards and Walking Stick Kale, etc.?

    mirandagardener and others:

    This is Michael from California with Tree Collards for sale (and will have some precious few and rare seeds for sale soon).

    In the UK, people tend to refer to what everybody else in the world
    calls "Collards" as "Kale". This is very confusing.

    Kale is Brassica napa. Collards are Brassica oleifera var acephala.
    Collards are a non-heading cabbage. Kale is a more "salady" vegetable,
    often used as a winter salad green that is available over a longer
    season than lettuce. Although they are considered different species,
    there are no genetic barriers to crossing them.

    Kale is commonly-eaten on the European continent, especially as you go
    further east where lettuce is harder to grow due to the severity of the
    climate. It is not commonly-eaten among the British, which is why they
    might use the word for something else. If you ever travel in Europe and
    get something that looks like salad greens but is a bit tougher and
    heartier than lettuce, and often fairly pretty shades of blue-green or
    purple, often with a ruffled leaf margin (varies from highly frilled to
    just a bit), that's Kale.

    Collards are very commonly eaten in the subtropics and tropical
    highlands, because they don't bolt as easily as their domesticated
    cousin cabbage does. I don't know why...they might actually have a bit
    of tropical blood in them. You can grow them in places like southern
    Georgia where it is too hot for cabbage. For this reason, Africans and
    Afroamericans often eat Collards while northern and eastern Europeans
    and their descendants far more familiar with cabbage. Cabbage was bred
    from wild cabbage to have the fat tight bud, so as to be storable
    through the winter. It was bred from probably a more northerly strain of
    the same species that Collards were bred from.

    TheTree Collards I have are probably of the famous strain that
    passes from neighbor to neighbor and at certain permaculture plant sale
    circles in the East Bay Area; pretty sure it's a hybrid. Note the
    decidedly purplish leaves with a slightly ruffled margin.

    Plus that might explain why the California strain is reputedly more
    tender and palatable than other Tree Collard strains, which are
    reputedly tough and cabbagy. They were bred as livestock fodder (and are
    currently grown as novelty items, or to manufacture "walking canes" to
    sell to tourists). Those are more collard-like than mine
    (some say "like miniature palm trees").

    Since there is some confusion regarding Kale versus Collards, plus no
    barriers to hybridization, that might explain how someone might have
    hybridized them and not realized that there is a difference.

    If mine is a hybrid, it might need to be stabilized by culling off-types.
    Or it might already be stabilized. Not sure.

  • elecampane

    I have tree collards, they are delicious. I have also grown seeds that were sold as tree collards seeds, and they produced something like a wild mustard--hairy, tough, and bitter. Also very small. Nothing like tree collards, though still a brassica.
    The tree collard cuttings from Bountiful Gardens are the real deal, as someone else said. It's true that they aren't in the catalog, but they appear seasonally on the website, usually in july or August, so I'd give it a look. www.bountifulgardens.org
    Note they are a non-profit, thus org instead of com. If you type com you'll get somebody else.

    Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.bountifulgardens.org/

  • wellspringorganics

    Oh shoot, I just lost a long post about heaps and heaps of important information you all should know if you're growing or looking to grow tree collards. It's late now and I don't have time to rewrite it. I'll post it soon. It's about how not to use woody cuttings when starting new plants as well as how you can let a plant keep growing from it's main stalk until it's 12' hight with giant leaves or how cutting it back/pruning produces greater harvest but smaller leaves.

    more later. . .

  • caglecat_gmail_com

    Try HayGround organic gardening. Mr. Jimmy Williams. I saw an article mentioning this in Martha Stewart's March 2011 Living magazine. He also has a book out.

    Cathy

  • climbthemtns

    Michael here~
    My last posting was May of 2009 and I thought it time to update. Here's my most recent overview of the infamous tree collard. Happy Gardening!

    Some folks call them Tree Kale or Walking Stick Kale and some call them Purple Tree Collards. The leaves only turn purple in cold weather!! See below for more info distinguishing them from Walking Stick Kale or Tree Kale. They are in the Brassica family & look more like a collard than a kale. Whatever you choose to call them, culinary-wise, they can't be beat.

    Photo Link: http://picasaweb.google.com/climbthemtns/TreeCollardsWalkingOnionsYacon#

    I also have a four page overview of the Tree Collards (everything you never knew you'd want to know about Tree Collards that you can't find on the Internet) that I can email to you. I will be starting a Blog soon to give a complete and comprehensive overview of cultivating and propagating them. This Blog will detail my 20 years experience growing them. There are many nuances to growing and propagating them that are not covered in any online postings. I've posted on numerous garden forums and this is where most folks around the country find me. Unfortunately, I seem to be one of only a few folks currently offering them for sale. The only reason for this is that they are so labor intensive to grow AND they DO NOT GROW "TRUE" FROM SEED! I hope to get the Blog up soon with photos to assist those already growing them as well as newcomers to this most amazing Perennial Veggie.

    This California Hybrid can withstand even light snow (Oregon) as well as temps in the 90s & 100 (here in Walnut Creek, CA).

    Tree Collards (Brassica oleracea)

    These perennial veggies are great for the backyard organic vegetable gardener or mini farm as they never stop producing. High in Calcium!! Sweeter and Tastier than regular collards (especially during the Fall, Winter, Spring when the whether is cooler and the leaves turn purple). And it's one of the favorite foods for our chickens. There's a lot of work getting these established as they take a very, very, very long time to root and require lots of TLC. Again, I'm not a retailer! Just a passionate gardener and Tree Collard Fan who desires to help others grow these wonderful Perennials. Here are some of the locations where the TCs are thriving that I've shipped to: Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana, Southern California, Oregon, Washington and of course California.

    (If you are looking for cuttings, please email me and I'll put you on the list. Currently, I'm waiting to make another 50 or so cuttings.))

    If you and/or your family, friends, neighbors eat lots of greens, it's worth it to have at least three tree collards growing for abundant, continuous harvests.

    I've grown plants up to 11' tall and 3' wide & recently heard of them getting to 18' plus next to a wall. PLEASE REMEMBER - The trunk and branches get woody after about three years, so if you want to share or sell cuttings you must start to make new cuttings between 18 months to 2 years when the top branches are still tender and green (not woody).

    Some people call them Tree Kale or Walking Stick Kale or Tree Cabbage. If you've heard of Walking Stick Kale, this isn't it. In the UK, people tend to refer to what everybody else in the world calls Collards as Kale. This is very confusing. Kale is Brassica napa. Regular Collards are Brassica oleifera var acephala. Collards are a non-heading cabbage. Kale is a more salady vegetable, often used as a winter salad green that is available over a longer season than lettuce. Although they are considered different species, there are no genetic barriers to crossing them. Kale is commonly eaten on the European continent, especially as you go further east where lettuce is harder to grow due to the severity of the climate. It is not commonly eaten among the British, which is why they might use the word for something else. If you ever travel in Europe and get something that looks like salad greens but is a bit tougher and heartier than lettuce, and often fairly pretty shades of blue-green or purple, often with a ruffled leaf margin (varies from highly frilled to just a bit), that's Kale

    Collards are very commonly eaten in the subtropics and tropical highlands, because they don't bolt as easily as their domesticated cousin, cabbage. I don't know why...they might actually have a bit of tropical blood in them. You can grow them in places like southern Georgia where it is too hot for cabbage. For this reason, Africans and Afroamericans often eat Collards while northern and eastern Europeans and their descendants far more familiar with cabbage. Cabbage was bred from wild cabbage (which I have seed for) to have the fat tight bud, so as to be storable through the winter. It was bred from probably a more northerly strain of the same species that Collards were bred from.

    The Tree Collards I have are probably of the famous strain that passes from neighbor to neighbor and at certain permaculture plant sale circles in the East Bay Area. They have decidedly purplish leaves in Late Fall & Winter with a slightly ruffled margin. Plus that might explain why the California strain is reputedly more tender and palatable than other Tree Collard strains, which are reputedly tough and cabbagy. I've been growing them in a hot Summer climate for 10 years and they have adapted well to the heat. They were bred as livestock fodder originally. Since there is some confusion regarding Kale versus Collards, plus no barriers to hybridization, that might explain how someone might have hybridized them and not realized that there is a difference.

    More Info:

    As a perennial form of cabbage, it is said to live up to 20 years or more although you might need a scaffold to grow them up. They will get woody after about three years AND the leaves will get smaller, BUT they'll keep growing. And you can espalier them as well.

    This species includes some of our most common vegetables such as the cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Although not widely known, these perennials can be amongst the most productive food plants that can be grown in the garden. They grow best in a sunny position and succeed in most soils, doing well in heavy clays. However, they can also be grown in partial shade They do not like very acid conditions. Prune heavily to get multiple brances and more harvest.

    The true wild form of B. oleracea is the WILD CABBAGE, which can still be found growing by the sea in many parts of the country. ( I GROW THEM & have seeds). A short-lived evergreen perennial, it can grow up to 1.2 meters tall. The leaves have a similar flavor to cabbage and collard leaves. Plants will usually live for 3 - 5 years, though some have been grown for 10 years or more. they do, however, become rather straggly as they age. Whilst most of the plants developed from the wild cabbage have lost the ability to be perennial, there are just a few forms where the perennial tendency has been increased.

  • climbthemtns

    Michael here~
    My last posting was May of 2009 and I thought it time to update. Here's my most recent overview of the infamous tree collard. Happy Gardening!

    Some folks call them Tree Kale or Walking Stick Kale and some call them Purple Tree Collards. The leaves only turn purple in cold weather!! See below for more info distinguishing them from Walking Stick Kale or Tree Kale. They are in the Brassica family & look more like a collard than a kale. Whatever you choose to call them, culinary-wise, they can't be beat.

    Photo Link: http://picasaweb.google.com/climbthemtns/TreeCollardsWalkingOnionsYacon#

    I also have a four page overview of the Tree Collards (everything you never knew you'd want to know about Tree Collards that you can't find on the Internet) that I can email to you. I will be starting a Blog soon to give a complete and comprehensive overview of cultivating and propagating them. This Blog will detail my 20 years experience growing them. There are many nuances to growing and propagating them that are not covered in any online postings. I've posted on numerous garden forums and this is where most folks around the country find me. Unfortunately, I seem to be one of only a few folks currently offering them for sale. The only reason for this is that they are so labor intensive to grow AND they DO NOT GROW "TRUE" FROM SEED! I hope to get the Blog up soon with photos to assist those already growing them as well as newcomers to this most amazing Perennial Veggie.

    This California Hybrid can withstand even light snow (Oregon) as well as temps in the 90s & 100 (here in Walnut Creek, CA).

    Tree Collards (Brassica oleracea)

    These perennial veggies are great for the backyard organic vegetable gardener or mini farm as they never stop producing. High in Calcium!! Sweeter and Tastier than regular collards (especially during the Fall, Winter, Spring when the whether is cooler and the leaves turn purple). And it's one of the favorite foods for our chickens. There's a lot of work getting these established as they take a very, very, very long time to root and require lots of TLC. Again, I'm not a retailer! Just a passionate gardener and Tree Collard Fan who desires to help others grow these wonderful Perennials. Here are some of the locations where the TCs are thriving that I've shipped to: Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana, Southern California, Oregon, Washington and of course California.

    (If you are looking for cuttings, please email me and I'll put you on the list. Currently, I'm waiting to make another 50 or so cuttings.))

    If you and/or your family, friends, neighbors eat lots of greens, it's worth it to have at least three tree collards growing for abundant, continuous harvests.

    I've grown plants up to 11' tall and 3' wide & recently heard of them getting to 18' plus next to a wall. PLEASE REMEMBER - The trunk and branches get woody after about three years, so if you want to share or sell cuttings you must start to make new cuttings between 18 months to 2 years when the top branches are still tender and green (not woody).

    Some people call them Tree Kale or Walking Stick Kale or Tree Cabbage. If you've heard of Walking Stick Kale, this isn't it. In the UK, people tend to refer to what everybody else in the world calls Collards as Kale. This is very confusing. Kale is Brassica napa. Regular Collards are Brassica oleifera var acephala. Collards are a non-heading cabbage. Kale is a more salady vegetable, often used as a winter salad green that is available over a longer season than lettuce. Although they are considered different species, there are no genetic barriers to crossing them. Kale is commonly eaten on the European continent, especially as you go further east where lettuce is harder to grow due to the severity of the climate. It is not commonly eaten among the British, which is why they might use the word for something else. If you ever travel in Europe and get something that looks like salad greens but is a bit tougher and heartier than lettuce, and often fairly pretty shades of blue-green or purple, often with a ruffled leaf margin (varies from highly frilled to just a bit), that's Kale

    Collards are very commonly eaten in the subtropics and tropical highlands, because they don't bolt as easily as their domesticated cousin, cabbage. I don't know why...they might actually have a bit of tropical blood in them. You can grow them in places like southern Georgia where it is too hot for cabbage. For this reason, Africans and Afroamericans often eat Collards while northern and eastern Europeans and their descendants far more familiar with cabbage. Cabbage was bred from wild cabbage (which I have seed for) to have the fat tight bud, so as to be storable through the winter. It was bred from probably a more northerly strain of the same species that Collards were bred from.

    The Tree Collards I have are probably of the famous strain that passes from neighbor to neighbor and at certain permaculture plant sale circles in the East Bay Area. They have decidedly purplish leaves in Late Fall & Winter with a slightly ruffled margin. Plus that might explain why the California strain is reputedly more tender and palatable than other Tree Collard strains, which are reputedly tough and cabbagy. I've been growing them in a hot Summer climate for 10 years and they have adapted well to the heat. They were bred as livestock fodder originally. Since there is some confusion regarding Kale versus Collards, plus no barriers to hybridization, that might explain how someone might have hybridized them and not realized that there is a difference.

    More Info:

    As a perennial form of cabbage, it is said to live up to 20 years or more although you might need a scaffold to grow them up. They will get woody after about three years AND the leaves will get smaller, BUT they'll keep growing. And you can espalier them as well.

    This species includes some of our most common vegetables such as the cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Although not widely known, these perennials can be amongst the most productive food plants that can be grown in the garden. They grow best in a sunny position and succeed in most soils, doing well in heavy clays. However, they can also be grown in partial shade They do not like very acid conditions. Prune heavily to get multiple brances and more harvest.

    The true wild form of B. oleracea is the WILD CABBAGE, which can still be found growing by the sea in many parts of the country. ( I GROW THEM & have seeds). A short-lived evergreen perennial, it can grow up to 1.2 meters tall. The leaves have a similar flavor to cabbage and collard leaves. Plants will usually live for 3 - 5 years, though some have been grown for 10 years or more. they do, however, become rather straggly as they age. Whilst most of the plants developed from the wild cabbage have lost the ability to be perennial, there are just a few forms where the perennial tendency has been increased.

  • climbthemtns

    I'm no longer offering the tree collard cuttings. the only know online source I know of is http://www.bountifulgardens.org/products.asp?dept=141
    they will be offering them June 2012. monitor their site regularly starting June as they sell out quickly.

    happy digging!

  • pearlyvictoria

    Thanks for listing a nearby source for purchasing tree collards. I thought my problems were over because a friend planted one for me and gave it to me recently. I nurtured it along and it started growing really well. Then yesterday, I went to harvest some leaves and they were covered with so many those little white-ish bugs it looked like ash! Can I save it?

  • Locoaboutgreens51

    There is a nursery called Centrose nursery in Gardena ca. The healthiest, cheapest,and tastiest tree collards you can find. They two varieties. The purple tree collard and a tree collard with curly leaves. Both of which taste very delicious.

  • climbthemtns

    To all of those looking for cuttings, Nathan of "First Light Food" now has them available. You can contact him at:

    Nathan Boone - nathan@firstlightfood.com

    I will no longer have them.

    Michael

  • carollight

    I recently purchased some plants from Annie's Annuals in Richmond, CA.
    So far, they are growing great, just waiting for cool weather before I sample them.

  • jashstokes

    I grew Collard Trees when I lived in Los Angeles; however, I have not been able to find any since then. If you know of a source, please let me know.
    I bought a couple of plants from that nursery in Gardena but they died during the winter. The nursery will not ship the plants. Do you know anyone who wuill ship to Ohio?

  • doginthegarden

    I recently picked up a few tree collard plants from Green Thumb in Canoga Park. There were only a few there so you should call first. They have several locations in the Valley, I think there is one in Van Nuys also.

  • Mikey

    I purchased two kinds of tree kale at Centrose Nursery in Gardena last year. The plant on the right is the purple variety. Both plants were 12-14" tall when purchased. I topped them this summer to make them branch out as they were quite leggy.

    {{gwi:542125}}

  • Randy.Canada

    This fellow (John) https://www.youtube.com/user/rawfoods?feature=watch
    has a few channels on YouTube and in one of them, I watched him pick tree collards from his garden in California. You might have to ask him which of his channels or search for the video.

  • Project Tree Collard

    We offer tree collard cuttings for sale on our website: http://projecttreecollard.org/

    Here is a video we did on propagating tree collards from cuttings. They are truly remarkable plants! Happy Gardening. :)


  • doginthegarden

    This week I picked up a few tree collards at Green Thumb Nursery in Canoga Park. $1.99 each, about 8" tall, purple stems. They didn't have a lot of them, maybe a half dozen each of two times that I was there. But if you are in the LA area and looking for them, might be worth trying one of the Green Thumbs.

  • mylilgarden

    Walking Stick Kale (B. oleracea var. longata) and Tree Collards (Brassica oleracea -Acephala Group) are different plants. The Tree Collard rarely goes to seed. When it does its seed is not true to type. Walking Stick Kale does go to seed and can be propagated from seed, however you would want to avoid cross pollination to get true seed. Here is a response to some questions I asked a master gardener from the UK in regards to germinating some old Walking Stick Kale seeds: (I also asked what they could potentially cross pollinate with, and if Tree Collards were really kale and was the Walking Stick Kale really a cabbage)

    Here is what I was told: Kale Walking Stick seeds should germinate fairly well, brassicas can lose seedling vigour over time and usually show as yellowing or stunted seedlings on emergence. However, hopefully you will obtain sufficient plants. Walking Stick is a Brassica "B. oleracea var. longata", a selection of ‘Thousand Head’ fodder/ marrow stem kale grown on Jersey.

    Collards are hugely popular in the USA whereas in Britain we have tended to grow ‘spring cabbage/ bagged greens’ for generations. There are similarities as both are loose leaf, slow hearting with winter hardiness. Breeders are actively working on F1 hybrids. Collards are also Brassica oleracea and would be classified as a cabbage.

    Cabbages and kales (also Brussels sprouts and cauliflower) will cross pollinate, as biennials flowering and seeding the second year after sowing.

    Unless individual Brassica oleracea subjects are caged prior to flowering then they can cross pollinate if flowering at the same time. Caging plants and introducing fly maggots/pupae from your fishing tackle shop to emerge as blowflies which perform a marvellous job in pollination.

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268