T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Cakile maritima Scop. subsp. maritime (Sea Rocket)

Kingdom: Plantae]
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Cakile
Species: C. maritime Scop. subsp. maritime
Binomial name: Cakile maritima Scop. subsp. maritime
Common name: European searocket, Sea Rocket

The European searocket, is a therophyte plant in the mustard family. It is widespread in Europe, especially on coastlines, and it can now be found in other areas of the world where it has been introduced. In New Zealand this annual plant is confined to our east coast from North Auckland to HawkesBay where grows in clumps or mounds in the sand and on bluffs.
It has a very long taproot. The stems are 20-50 cm high; bright green, hairless, and very fleshy. The shiny alternate leaves are fleshy, much longer than broad, with rounded forward-pointing lobes. It has white to light purple flowers (diameter 1.2 cm).
The seed pods are sculpted, segmented, corky brown fruits one to three centimeters long. These pods are divided into two cells, the upper larger, with a seed in each. The upper breaks off whole, but the lower remains on the plant till the seed is shed. The fruits float and the seeds are dispersed by sea-water.

 Warning: The seed oil contains high level of erucic acid which can have pathological effects on the cardiac muscle of several animal species.