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Dieren en planten

Mens en Milieu



plant: 30-80 centimeters
seed pod: 5-8 millimeters


leaves: blue-green
flowers: white




via insects


seeds spread by water and wind

life span:



Along the coasts of the Black Sea, Atlantic Ocean (including North Sea region) and the Baltic Sea

  • Dut: Zeekool
  • Lat: Crambe maritima
  • Eng: Seakale
  • Ger: Meerkohl
Seakale, foto fitis, sytske dijksen


How does a plant cross a body of water to colonize an island? If the fruit, containing the seeds, is able to float then it is a matter of falling into the water and catching the right currents. This is most likely the way seakale arrived on Texel in the previous century. The plant grows in salty environments on rocky or sandy bottoms. The round, nut-like seed pods contain 1 seed each and can survive a long journey at sea. Darwin discovered seakale seeds that had floated 37 days in seawater and still germinated! You know when seakale flowers from its strong fragrance. Due to its rarity, seakale is a protected plant in the Netherlands.

  • Distribution and habitat
    Seakale, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Seakale grows best on stony beaches and rocky coasts where the seeds germinate in the flood mark. It is resistant to salty spray but doesn't like being flooded regularly with seawater.

    Seakale originated along the coasts of northwestern France and the British Isles. Although it was first found in the Netherlands in 1935, it only established itself in 1959 in the delta region. It took a long time before spreading further but nowadays, seakale grows at more and more places along the Dutch coast. The basalt blocks in sea dikes form a good habitat. The IJsselmeer Causeway is one of the richest places for wild seakale in the Netherlands. In the meantime, seakale is also growing more often on the dikes along the Wadden Islands.

  • Sea vegetable
    Seakale, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Seakale is a very edible marine vegetable. It has been eaten in England for centuries. It is one of the few plants that can be cultivated as a vegetable on soil with lots of salty seepage. Such fields are often found behind sea dikes. A farmer on Texel brought this delicatessant onto the market for the first time in the Netherlands in 2007. This experimental adventure was successful, culinary as well as agriculturally. Thanks to suppor from the Wadden funding, it can continue on a large scale. Perhaps this crop will become a welcome supplement for farmers owning brackish fields, just like in England where it's been eaten since the 18th century!

    The stems of the seakale are what one eats. They contain lots of vitamin C, mineral salts, sulfur and iodine. The leaves use to be used to heal wounds and the seeds served as a cure for worms.