Cakile maritima Brassicaceae Sea Rocket

Flowers Seed Pods

Cakile maritima 29kb

Description - The four-petalled flowers of this plant are the palest lilac, whilst the leaves and stems are bright green, hairless, and very fleshy, the water in the cells helping to dilute the salt, with which it must come into contact, either from sea-spray, or even inundation on a high spring tide. Each plant spreads out from the centre and can cover an area of about 50cm.

Habitat - Sea Rocket grows right at the top of the beach in sand. It can tolerate salty conditions (as described above) and also being buried in sand for short periods. Only a few other species will compete with it in this situation e.g. Sea Sandwort, Honckenya peploides, Sea Couch, Elytrigia atherica, and Sand Couch, E. juncea.

Comment - David McClintock in "The Wild Flowers of Guernsey" (1975) says this has diminished and is now "not much seen, and then often only in singletons" However, things have improved since then, and good size areas can be found at the top of some beaches.

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