Common name: Dinosaur kale
Botanical name: Brassica oleracea
What it is: A leafy green edible plant with very ornamental qualities and high nutrient values. The leaves are dark blue-green, and elongated with a crinkled and blistered texture that makes it stand out in the garden as well as in the kitchen. ‘Tuscan Black Palm’ kale is an heirloom variety with an Italian heritage and goes by other names such as ‘Lacinato,’ ‘Tuscan Black,’ ‘Cavolo Nero,’ ‘Nero di Toscana,’ and ‘Black Cabbage.’
Size: Taller than most other kale varieties, Tuscan kales can tower to 5 feet and higher with individual leaves that are 3 to 4 inches wide and over a foot long. The leaves stretch out and the tips bow to present a palm tree-like effect.
Where to use: Serves as an attention catching focal point in the vegetable garden and could even take up a position in the midst of a formal ornamental garden as it is just that attractive and versatile. But the best place to use this Italian edible plant is definitely in the gourmet kitchen. ‘Tuscan Black Palm’ kale will add loads of beauty, flavor and nutrition to many of your favorite recipes!
Why I like it: Kales are one of my favorite vegetable crops because they are easy to grow, tolerate a wide range of climates and conditions, and are perfect for extending the season on both ends. Their hardiness allows kales to endure repeated frost while only growing sweeter and more flavorful as the fall season progresses. Here in central Pennsylvania, kales are capable of surviving the winters unprotected and will provide additional harvests of new leaves and buds when spring arrives. ‘Tuscan Black Palm’ kale is one of my favorites just for its appearance in the garden, but it is also one of the best tasting kale varieties that the home gardener can choose.