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I was at the Yandina Community Gardens yesterday with Phil attending a talk on Food Forests and during the session we all took a walk through the YCG food forest. One of the plants I nibbled on, clearly a brassica, was the Ethiopian Cabbage. Yummo. 

I bought a packet of seed but it lacks a scientific name. Phil also bought seed which he will grow and share with mates.

Is anyone growing this plant to their knowledge? Would love to learn more about it.

Brassica abyssinica - name provided by Mary-Ann

Brassica carinata - name provided by Dave

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Brassica abyssinicum - we did but got rid of it - w invading the garden and even the paddocks - in just one short year - now we have the green house etc will grow it there where the seeds will not escape ! 

Thank you for the name Mary-Ann :)

Why were you worried about such a delicious food plant growing wild? Surely the cows would have been happy to have it in the paddocks.

cows would not eat it and at the rate it was spreading it would soon become a weed everywhere not just our place ! they dont eat wild turnips either and they are a pest around here 

More flavoursome than the tall plant with big leaves you had growing?

yes a lot more flavoursome !

You mean the Walking Stick Collard greens Elaine? I loved those but I thought the bit I had of the EC was delicious.

Yes Lissa, name escaped me! I have a collard here given to me by Rob C, I've yet to remember to pick the leaves which are becoming a nice pickable size.

So if the Ethiopian plants are more adapted to our summer climate then I'd love a plant or two if anyone has a spare few or just some seeds (ditto). Nothing will escape if I chop off the developing seeds - there's bush at the back I don't want to be overrun with weird cabbages.

Alternately, if they do produce seeds, harvesting the pods before they drop seeds and then using the excess seeds to make sprouts/micro-greens would be a good use for the seeds. You can pay a ridiculous amount to buy Broccoli and Kale seeds for sprouting.

Interesting, I have been looking for Ethiopian cabbage since I read an article on Garden Drum by Arno King. He speaks highly of it, listing it as one of ten top veg to grow in our climate but he gives a different botanical name. See extract below. His picture of it looked very similar.
5. Ethiopian or Kenyan Cabbage (Brassica carinata)
Most of the Brassicas we grow (cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts) originate in the cool, moist climates of northern Europe. Whilst they may grow well in the cooler subtropical winter, they quickly bolt to flower as the temperature rises.

Ethiopean Cabbage thrives over the hot wet summer months
Ethiopean Cabbage thrives over the hot wet summer months

The ancient cabbages from North and Central Africa are a different breed and happily grow through the hottest, wettest and humid summers. They form large open heads of delicious sweet flavourful leaves.

Like any of the leafy Brassicas, these plants appreciate deep well-worked, highly fertile moist soils and regular applications of fertiliser. They quickly grow into large leafy rosettes, which are very attractive in the summer garden.

This is the cabbage that provides an authentic flavour to an African dish. However it is also a great substitute for cabbage or kale over the summer months.

Your link refers to the B carinata as does Dave's. But the pic in your link looks more like the plant I ate. Green not red.

There are the same colour variations in the Collard Greens. I'm waiting on a response back from the Yandina Community Gardens as to the scientific name of the one they grow.

Yes I am indeed. Love the stuff.

Here's my past post:

I don't let it seed, primarily because I eat it.

So many variations. The one you linked for is Brassica Carinata a more reddish looking (like Mustard Greens) plant. 

This plant I tried isn't hot like mustard greens and the plant is all green. Much more like the Collard Greens but with a smaller more delicate leaf. Delicious flavour. Wish I had some here so I could taste it again and describe it.


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