Brassica oleracea var napus
Perennial kale – ours are into their third year now and have survived several ‘prunings’ by our cattle too!
Thousandhead is a large, vigorous plant with leaves that may grow up to 50cm or even a metre long and over 30cm wide and have been described as ‘elephant’s ears’! It is known as thousand headed due to its multi branching habit, which in turn means that it produces more leaves than other kales, and more sweet flower stalks (like broccolini). Despite the size, the leaves remain tender. It is an heirloom crop, noted in “The Vegetable Garden” (published 1885 by French seed company Vilmorin), where it was described as an ancient, productive, multi-branching variety from the U.K. that also went by the name “branching borecole.” Vilmorin also noted that the variety originally hailed from western France. This may or may not be true, my research has found there are other types of more perennial kales from the Atlantic coasts of France, Spain and Portugal which also go by the same name but are genetically different.
This variety has long been grown in the UK and Norther Europe as a fodder crop to provide food for sheep and cattle through long harsh winters. Due to the lush wide spreading foliage it is also often used as a winter game cover for pheasants and partridge.
It is very easy to grow, tolerant of poorer soil conditions than other brassicas, and is rarely troubled by pests and diseases.
Certified organic plant.