For the English village, see Crambe, North Yorkshire. For the sponge genus, see Crambe (sponge).
Crambe maritima in Estonia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Crambe

About 20 species, including:

Crambe is a genus of Brassicaceae native to Europe, southwest and central Asia and eastern Africa. It includes among its species seakale (Crambe maritima), grown as a leaf vegetable, Crambe cordifolia which is grown as an herbaceous border perennial, and Crambe abyssinica, which is grown for an oil from the seeds that has similar characteristics to whale oil.

Crambe species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Lime-speck Pug.

As a perennial garden plant it produces spectacular and large sprays of flowers some 1.5 m tall. These flowers comprise numerous small pale yellow to white florets distributed in three dimensions on slender but firm stems. They have a strong and pleasant fragrance of honey. The leaves are unimpressive, looking like common cabbage leaves, although even they are quite good at ground coverage. The plant was somewhat popular in the Victorian era, fell from common usage in the 20th Century and is now making a comeback.[citation needed] It is a bold and impressive plant that fills a considerable volume of space.

Crambe abyssinica, often just called Crambe in the literature, is grown for the oil from its seeds, which are used as a substitute for whale oil.

Crambe maritima, a halophyte, forms a tumbleweed.[1]


  1. ^ O. Appel and I. A. Al-Shehbaz. "Cruciferae". In K. Kubitzki and C. Bayer. The families and genera of vascular plants. 5: Flowering Plants: Dicotyledons: Malvales, Capparales and Non-betalain Caryophyllales. Springer. pp. 75–174. ISBN 3540428739.  page 83