The Purple Kale Tree is a unique perennial vegetable with a nice mild flavour. These plants can provide you with a year-round abundance of greens, they are related to other brassicas like broccoli and cabbage.

The variety we are growing is PKT x Nero di Toscana. With thanks to Alan Carter of A Scottish Forest Garden. Alan has been breeding different kales and these are the results. We’re excited to continue the experiments and pleased to share the results with you too. Maybe you fancy having a go at making your own variety of perennial kale to suit your tastes. These plants are grown from seed so show genetic diversity, they’re not all the same.

The leaves can get quite large and, of course, some will be purple – these are best used for cooking. But the plant will get lots of smaller leaves that are nice and tender. You can eat these leaves raw in salads, in sandwiches or in wraps.

As an evergreen plant, the leaves will be available to harvest all year round and they’re a bit sweeter in the winter after a frost.

Purple Tree collards are essentially collard greens that have “forgotten” how to go to seed. Native to Africa, there they continue to grow for up to 15 years.  They are an exceptionally hardy plant, easily withstanding low temperatures.  As the years go on, they become a woody, gangly shrub, easily reaching heights of 10 to 12 feet.  At the ends of their numerous branches are clusters of dark green leaves with a purple tinge. The purple colour means it is particularly good at making sulphur-rich compounds.

Purple Tree collards are resistant to most of the usual diseases and pests that tend to plague the other brassicas members, even shrugging off all but the most intense invasion of aphids. Purple Tree collards are also one of the plants richest in calcium, something the gardener quickly discovers because the only care they require is the yearly application of a handful of calcium-rich bone meal.  That and pruning to keep them from getting too heavy with leaves make them one of the easiest plants to grow and why they are the “star” of the permaculture movement.

If you would like a Purple Kale Tree for your garden or allotment, please use the contact form below to check our stock and reserve for collection from our garden at Belper Lane End during opening times. (Sat 10-12, Mon 10-3, Fri 9.30-11.30)

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