< Flora
Seakale
Crambe maritima

Seakale (Crambe maritima) is a perennial halophyte plant (grows in saline soils) and belongs to the cruciferous family (Brassicaceae). The species makes extensive root system with numerous small roots that are easy to dig out. The bluish, naked, fleshy leaves are deeply cut with wavy edges. It blooms in April – May. The flowers are collected in panicle and are pollinated by insects. The petals are white, oval-back. The petals cup is stretched, built by the same shape and size petals. The fruit is composed of two parts: the bottom part is thin and the top cumulus.

Regarding the scientific name of the seakale (Crambe maritima), it has Latin and Greek origins. The word "crambe" comes through the Latin "crambe" from the Greek "κράμβη" and is the name of a sertain type of cabbage, and "maritima" (from Latin) means "by the sea", referring to the habitat of the species.

As a representative of the psammophyte and drought-resistant vegetation, the coast is the natural habitat of the seakale. It grows wild along the coast lines of Europe from the North Atlantic to the Black Sea. Within Bulgarian territory the species is widespread along the Black Sea coast, reaching a height of 30-75 cm

Representatives of the genus Crambe have been used as food source by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species.

Seakale (Crambe maritima) is a wild growing relative of some cultivars of the family Brassica, used in the kitchen such as cabbage (Brassica oleracea), canola (Brassica napus) and black mustard (Brassica nigra). With the problems caused by climate change, wild relatives of the cultivated plants may be important for ensuring food source security in the new millennium. According to research by botanists, seakale is rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamins B (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12), vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, protein, alcohol, water, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc and sodium that are beneficial to our health.

Bojana Ribarova
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