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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:


Latin Name: Crambe abyssinica

Plant Family: Brassicaceae

Close Relatives: Oil seed producing brassicas (mustards).

Uses and Markets: Industrial: oil is an excellent source of erucic acid with many industrial uses (e.g. slip agent, lubricant, plastics and synthetic rubber production).

Flowering Crambe abyssinica. Crambe abyssinica developing seed pods Mature Crambe abyssinica seed pods on the stem. Crambe abyssinica seeds
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Crambe was commercially grown in North Dakota in the 1990s as a source of high erucic acid (HEA) oil.

Propagation method

Seeds.  Plant at a depth of 1.25 to 2.5 cm depending on soil moisture

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:

Early spring when temperatures below 6°C have passed.

Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

59,400 seeds/kg

Between row spacing

15-17.5 cm use 22kg seed/ha; 30-35 cm use 9-17 kg seed/ha.

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from North Dakota indicates a nitrogen requirement of up to 120 kg N/ha. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils, avoid heavy wet soils.

Soil pH

Acidic to alkaline, pH 6-8.

Special requirements for growth habit

Planting in narrow rows limits weed competition and lessens late season lodging.

Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Cold tolerant, some drought tolerance.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation usually not required.

Days to harvest

Estimate: 90 - 100 days.

Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest when seeds moisture is 10%.

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Machine harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Seed shattering can occur if harvest is delayed beyond the point where plant yellowing occurs below the last seed bearing branch.  Seed should be harvested with the hulls intact.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Remove green trash prior to drying to 8% moisture.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): N/A

Temperature: N/A

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: N/A

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Unknown – limited to no production of this crop in Ontario to date.

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Slugs (young plants)*, aphids, flea beetles, grasshoppers.

Diseases: Alternaria brassicola* (black spot), turnip mosaic virus, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (white mould).

Other: Weeds*

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario:  n/a – limited production of this crop in Ontario to date.  Alternaria has been the most significant pest problem in many areas, when it can infect seed and stems, reducing germination and vigor of future plantings, particularly under high moisture conditions. High quality, disease-free certified seed can help reduce disease problems. Adequate crop rotation can help with virus and white mould management. Weed competition (e.g. pigweed, foxtail, lambs quarter and ragweed) can reduce yields significantly. 

For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section. Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product. For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Carlson, K.D, J.C. Gardner, V.L. Anderson and J.J. Hanzel (1996). Crambe: New Crop Success. P306-322.  In J. Janick (ed), Progress in New Crops. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
  2. Erickson, D.B. and P. Bassin (1990).  Rapeseed and Crambe.  Alternative crops with potential industrial uses.  Bulletin 656.  Agricultural Experiment Station, Kansas State University, Manhattan KS, 66506
  3. Nelson, L.A., A. Grombacheer and D.D. Baltensperger.  (1993).  G93-1126 Crambe Production.  Historical Materials from University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. Paper 776
  4. Oplinger, E.S., E.A. Oelke, A.R. Kaminski, D.H. Putnam, T.M. Teynor, J.D. Doll, K.A. Kelling, B.R. Durgan and D.M. Noetzel.  (1990).  Crambe.  In: Alternative Field Crops Manual.  University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension and University of Minnesota Extension Service.