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Dieren en planten

Mens en Milieu

Seakale

size:

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

color:

leaves: blue-green
flowers: white

blossoms:

June-July

pollination:

via insects

reproduction:

seeds spread by water and wind

life span:

perennial

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

Seakale

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.

  • Distribution
    Seakale, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Since early days, seakale has been found in three different regions in Europe: around the Black Sea, along the British and Northwestern French coasts and around the Baltic Sea. Altough it was first found in the Netherlands in 1935, it only established itself in 1959 in the delta region. Nowadays, seakale grows at various places along the coast, including Den Helder, Texel and particularly the IJsselmeer Causeway. In fact, the largest population in the country is found along the causeway.

  • 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. The St Donatus Foundation on Texel brought this delicatessant onto the market for the first time in the Netherlands in November 2007. This adventure was successful, culinary as well as agriculturally. This experiment can continue on a large scale, since it is now being supported by the Wadden funding. Perhaps this crop will become a welcome supplement for farmers owning brackish fields, just like in England.