Sea Rocket (Cakile maritima) - TheBackCountry

Cakile maritima, searocket, is a common plant in the mustard family. It is widespread in Europe, North Africa and western Asia, especially on coastlines. It can now be found in many other areas of the world where it has been introduced. It is an inhabitant of the west and east coasts of North America, where it has the potential to become a noxious weed. This is an annual plant which grows in clumps or mounds in the sand on beaches and bluffs. The shiny leaves are fleshy, green and tinted with purple or magenta, and long-lobed. It has white to light purple flowers and sculpted, segmented, corky brown fruits one to three centimeters long. The fruits float and are water-dispersed.

It is a glabrous, succulent annual, with a slender or stout taproot. It has a branched stem prostrate or ascending, growing up to 15–45 cm (5.9–17.7 in). The lobed leaves, are flesh-like and alternate (spaced), they are different from top and bottom of the stem, the lower leaves are obovate or oblancelate, while the upper ones are oblong. The small flowers come in shades of white, lilac-coloured or purple, with 4 petals measuring up to 25 mm (0.98 in) across. Later it produces green maturing to brown, seed capsules (fruit), that are short and stubby. They contain 2 yellow, brown, smooth seeds. The seed oil contains a high level of erucic acid.

It grows on the foreshores near large dune systems, and in shingle banks. It is tolerant of salt spray and transient seawater inundation. It is pollinated by a wide range of insects.

Observations Map

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