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.
Please note that while we hope that every plant we ship thrives in your garden, we cannot be responsible for the success of the plants in your garden.
Please consider the weather in your region when ordering. We do our best to ensure a safe journey for your plants but cannot be responsible for plants that freeze or cook in your mailbox. If there is a defect with your order please take photos and contact us within 24 hours of arrival. We hope you enjoy your plant!