The Merritt Tree Collard seeds were collected in Summer of 2022. They germinated at over 90%. They come in packages of approximately 30 seeds (usually more). Recently a customer from Connecticut reported that their Merritt Tree Collard seedling plants survived the winter in 2020 without any protection, so they may be much hardier than we had thought possible. Tree collards grown from seed are likely to be more climate adapted than plants grown from vegetative growth.
Project Tree Collard obtained a cutting of this wild tree collard in 2015 from Merritt College in Oakland, CA where it survived without irrigation or rain from May to November. The original plant probably self seeded in the garden in which numerous brassica species bloomed nearby. Merritt Tree Collards are a green, perennial brassica plant hardy to 20°, possibly lower. The plants grow to 4-10 feet high with a strong, central, woody trunk and are more compact and dense than Purple Tree Collards. They can be propagated by cuttings once you get your first plant established and forming multiple trunks. If your plant does not naturally form multiple trunks, then you may cut off the top of the plant in mild weather and your plant will develop side branching. They should be planted 3-4 feet apart and may or may not require staking, depending on strength of the trunk and weather conditions.
Merritt Tree Collards will likely bloom in their second or third year. Let them flower and set some seeds before removing the flower stalks. After flowering and setting seed in the spring, they return to vigorous vegetative growth. You can still harvest Merritt leaves while it is blooming or seeding. The leaves on our plants can measure over 2 ft long and weigh up to 1/2 a pound. The greens are delicious and are perhaps more mild in flavor than Purple Tree Collards.
Like other collard greens, Merritt Tree Collards are very nutritious. They are high in Vitamins B1, B2, B9, C, and beta-Carotene and are also a great source of fiber. Tree collards (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) are members of the brassica family. They are also known as Tree Kale or Tree Cabbage. Their relatives include traditional collards, kale, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and cauliflower. However, unlike most of its relatives, tree collards are perennial. This means that, like a fruit tree or rose bush, they will continue to grow and produce year after year and without the need for planting new seeds or seedlings every year like traditional collards and kale. Tree collards have been known to live for up to twenty years in mild climates! They are closely related to other perennial collard varieties grown in Mediterranean, Africa, the Americas, and other countries.
These seeds will not be true to type due to cross pollination with other brassicas on the farm, but they will likely produce vigorous leafy brassica plants that may be of interest to plant breeding enthusiasts. They seed at the same time as the Dino Tree Collards and Big Blue Tree Collards so they may produce some interesting crosses.
We also sell rooted plants from our Merritt Tree Collards, as well as cuttings. If you want an exact clone of the original Merritt Tree Collards, we recommend you purchase a rooted plant or cuttings. Our mother plants grow a large central trunk up to 6 inches in diameter with limited side shoots for propagation.
Please send a message if you wish to have seeds shipped internationally and let us know your order. We will send you a Paypal Invoice. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee delivery for international orders. Please do your research beforehand to see if customs is likely to confiscate your items. We have successfully shipped to Australia, parts of Asia, parts of Africa, Europe, and Canada, in a regular letter envelope ($10).