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Crambe cordifolia

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Kemper Code:  V480

Common Name: colewort
Zone: 5 to 8
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Brassicaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: Caucasus
Height: 4 to 7 feet
Spread: 3 to 4 feet
Bloom Time: June - July   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Best grown in deep, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Foliage depreciates rapidly if soils are allowed to dry out. Does not perform well in the heat and humidity of the deep South. May need staking. Plants have tap roots and are best left undisturbed once established.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Colewort is a substantial perennial (to 7' tall and 4' wide) that requires a lot of space. Features a foliage mound (to 1.5' high) of huge, crinkled, rounded, variably-sized, cabbage-like, green leaves which are usually deeply lobed. In early summer, profuse numbers of small, 4-petaled, white flowers (1/3" across) appear on strong, widely branching stems in a huge, baby's breath-like cloud of sweetly fragrant bloom which hovers above and nearly envelops the foliage mound. Bloom height generally ranges from 4-6' tall (less frequently to 7'). Flower show can be spectacular but lasts only 3 weeks.


No serious disease problems. Caterpillars often feed on the foliage. Leaf scorch may occur in hot summer climates, particularly if soils dry out. Staking of flowering stems is usually required.


Accent for open sunny areas. Periphery of border. Cottage gardens. Wild gardens.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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