Willis Collard Greens variety description

Large plants, growing up to 3′ across. Leaf color variable from yellow-green to green to blue-green; shape ovate to elliptic; entire margin; broadly rounded apex; semi-prostrate leaf angle. Leaf midribs and veins light green to light purple. Petiole pigmentation ranges from absent to purple. Largest leaves 14.5″ long, 9″ wide. Tough, leathery leaves; slightly bitter; not very sweet.

Willis Collard Greens variety history

This variety was stewarded by Naomi Willis of Rocky Mount, North Carolina. It’s a family heirloom collard grown by Naomi’s mother and grandmother as early as the 1920s. Naomi donated this variety to Seed Savers Exchange in 1987 and commented in her correspondence, “These seeds are not a true cabbage collard, as some of them will have purple edges on the leaves. The Summer flavor is a little different from what it is after a couple of frosts sends the sap down.” One of her childhood chores was picking insects off the collard leaves and into a milk can of kerosene and water. She wasn’t fond of the job, but was paid five cents for each full can. Naomi prepares the greens by cooking them in water with a piece of fat back or ham and seasoning them with hot pepper vinegar.

Seed Status:

D-pack means that the seeds are available through the Seed Savers Exchange. Regeneration project are underway with some varieties to build up enough sharable seed stock. We are actively looking for more seed stewards willing to regenerate and steward these varieties. Please get in touch if you are interested.