Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website


Brassica oleracea Acephala Group [scarlet kale]

Family Name: Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)
Common Name: Scarlet Kale, Purple Curly Kale
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Fruit & Vegetable Ornamental Foliage Annual Herbaceous


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Infraspecific Epithet
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Biennial, Annual
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.6 m to 0.9 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 0.6 m


Native Distribution Of horticultural origin

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Biennial herb often grown as an annual.
Foliage The thick, curly leaves are dark purple to red. Young leaves and plants exposed to lower light levels may be bluish-grey with strong purplish red tints. Cool weather causes the leaves to turn a vibrant reddish purple.
Flowers Kale is induced to flower in its second year following prolonged exposure to the cold. The spike-like inflorescence (known as a raceme) is composed of yellow, 4-petalled flowers.
Fruits The dry, dehiscent fruit is a toothpick-shaped pod known as a silique.
Taxonomy Kale is classified as part of the Acephala Group in the species Brassica oleracea.
Cultivation Kale grows best in rich, well-drained soil in a sunny location. You can begin to harvest young leaves from 1 month after sowing seed. Frequent harvesting of the young foliage will encourage the plant to be produce more leaves. Applying a thin layer of compost and forking it in the soil will ensure optimal growth. Planting kale alongside mint in a companion planting will help to repel flea beetles.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Leaves, Edible Flowers)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : The leaves are rich in iron and calcium. The tough texture makes it less popular to eat raw, but they can be added to smoothies for extra nutrition. They can be prepared in a variety of methods, like stir-frying with garlic, adding to soups or frying into chips. The edible flowers, known as Kale Raab, are sweet and tender and can be stir-fried in olive oil with salt and pepper.  )

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Blue, Purple, Silver / Grey
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Powdery / Waxy Bloom, Crinkled / Twisted, Thick
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Blue, Purple
Young Flush Texture(s) Thick
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Rosulate / Rosette
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Scalloped
Foliar Apex - Tip Rounded
Foliar Base Attenuate

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Cruciform / Cross-shaped
Inflorescence Type Raceme

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Smooth
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Silique

Image Repository



Master ID 33663
Species ID 8077
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 26 August 2021.