Crambe maritima: 2′ high x 2′ wide / full sun to half shade / zone 4
This is one of the few perennial vegetables to have been cultivated by Europeans. Native to the coastlines of Western Europe, this cabbage family member was brought into cultivation in the 18th Century for the spring shoots, which were blanched and steamed like asparagus. It was very popular then, and is currently undergoing a renaissance with the renewed interest in perennial vegetables. It’s also an ornamental, with its blue-green leaves and spray of white flowers. Later in the season, the leaves can still be eaten raw or cooked, and the unopened flower buds can be used like broccoli. The roots are also a very nice vegetable, raw or cooked; you can slice off a portion without killing the plant.