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Crambe abyssinica - Hochst. ex R.E.Fr.
                 
Common Name Abyssinian Kale, Crambe
Family Brassicaceae or Cruciferae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Grassland and waste ground, and as a weed in agricultural fields, at elevations from 1,200 - 2,600 metres[ 299 ].
Range Northeastern tropical Africa - Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, northeastern Zaire, Tanzania.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
Crambe hispanica abyssinica (Crambe abyssinica) or Abyssinian Kale is an erect plant that grows about 2 meters in height. It is much-branched, mainly in the upper half of the plant. It is commonly found in north eastern tropical Africa. The fruits are used in the treatment of snakebites. The leaves are edible. The seed yields oil which is used for lighting, making plastics and nylon. Seed residues are made into crambe meal is used as plywood and rubber adhesive, as a source of protein isolates, and as an additive to waxes. It can also be used as an insecticide. Abyssinian Kale are also used in crop rotations to control weeds, pest, and diseases.

Crambe abyssinica Abyssinian Kale, Crambe


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Crambe abyssinica Abyssinian Kale, Crambe
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Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Crambe abyssinica is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Self, Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
Crambe abyssinica Hochst. ex R.E.Fr.

Habitats
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Oil.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Leaves[ 299 ].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



The fruits are used in traditional medicine to treat snake bites[ 299 ].
Other Uses
Biomass;  Oil.

Agroforestry Uses: Crambe meal is used in crop rotations for alleviating weed, pest and disease build-up[ 418 ]. Other Uses The oil from the seed contains erucic acid. It is used for lighting and making plastics[ 160 ]. The seed oil is one of the richest known sources of erucic acid and crambe appears to be a better potential domestic crop than rapeseed[ 269 ]. It is the cheapest source of erucic acid, which performs better than any known material as a mold lubricant in continuous steel casting[ 269 , 418 ]. It is also in demand for making 'Nylon 1313', a tough form of nylon used for moulded plastic, for articles as bearings and heavy fibres in brushes, as an additive in plastic films to prevent sheets from sticking together, in plasticizers to keep them soft and flexible[ 269 ]. Crambe meal, made from the seed residues after the oil has been removed, is used as plywood and rubber adhesive, as a source of protein isolates, and as an additive to waxes[ 269 , 418 ]. The meal is also used as an insecticide[ 418 ]. The plant has an excellent potential for use in phytoremediation schemes to remove toxins from contaminated soils[ 269 ]. In a trial, plants grown hydroponically were treated with 10 or 20 mg/ L arsenate for two weeks. Plant growth, development of toxicity symptoms and tissue levels of arsenic were examined. The plant exhibited a reduction in growth relative to controls when treated with 20 mg/L As, but lacked severe toxicity symptoms. Arsenic accumulation in the leaves were 82+28 mg/dry g after a two-week treatment with 10 ppm arsenate[ 269 ].
Cultivation details
The plant can be cultivated as a spring-sown crop in the temperate zone and also succeeds right through to the tropics, where it can be grown at elevations from sea level up to 2,500 metres[ 418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 25°c, but can tolerate 10 - 35°c[ 418 ]. Seedlings can survive temperatures down to -4 or even -6°c for short periods, but at all later stages of growth -1°c may kill the plant[ 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 800 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 700 - 2,500mm[ 418 ]. Requires a sunny position[ 418 ]. The plant does best on medium-light to heavy soils that are fertile and well drained, though poor sandy soils may be used if nutrients are provided[ 269 ]. Moderately tolerant of saline soils[ 299 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7.5, tolerating 5 - 8[ 418 ]. Drought stress during flowering or seed set can reduce yields and lower the oil content of the seeds[ 289 ]. However the penetrating tap root can reach depths of over 15cm, enabling the plant to be relatively drought resistant later in the season[ 418 ]. Plants take from 83 - 105 days from sowing to harvesting the seed[ 289 ]. The first-formed pods usually remain on the stalks until the last-formed pods mature, making harvesting the seeds easier[ 418 ]. One plant may produce 530 - 1,840 fruits[ 418 ]. Seed yields vary widely, with 1,125 - 1,624 kg/ha being obtained in Russia and 450 - 2,522 kg/ha in the United States[ 418 ]. In irrigated fields, with additional nitrogen, yields up to 5 tonnes/ha have been attained[ 418 ]. Test plantings in Russia, under a wide variety of ecological conditions, gave oil contents of 25 - 33% for the seed with hulls (dehulled seeds reached 54%)[ 418 ]. The plant fares poorly where weeds are a problem[ 289 ]. Newer cultivars have more tolerance to lower temperatures, with some varieties in Britain having tolerated a few hours with temperatures slightly below freezing without harmful effects upon overall yields[ 289 ].
Propagation
Seed - the plant has orthodox seeds with usually about 4 months dormancy. Once the dormancy is broken, the seeds take 1 - 2 weeks to germinate at temperatures between 10 - 20°c. Germination is retarded below 8°c and inhibited below 5°c. Early growth is rapid, with plants reaching the 2-leaf stage 6- 12 days after germination and the 6-leaf stage after 15 - 27 days[ 299 ].
Other Names
Abyssinian Kale, Crambe
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed
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Author
Hochst. ex R.E.Fr.
Botanical References
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Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
ERNESTO JUAREZ Fri Feb 1 2008
I´M LOOKINK FOR SEED TO PLANT IT, IF YOU KNOW ABOUT A SEED SUPLIER, PLEASEMCONTACT US. BEST REGARDS. ERNESTO JUAREZ
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Subject : Crambe abyssinica  

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