6 responses to “Cakile edentula”

  1. Bonnie

    I loved this write-up, which revealed that the plant is MUCH more interesting than one would assume at first glance.

  2. Scott Dilatush

    Thank you Daniel for all of your studies, hard work and excellent photography.
    If I’m not mistaken I’ve eaten the seed pods and the leaves of this plant. Very mustard-like in flavor.
    It would be worth the while for any seaside gardener to try growing the vegetable relatives of Cakile edentula in their veggie garden. I’ve had good luck with broccoli and other brassica vegetables in Virginia Beach,Virginia about a stone’s throw from the sea. There was some protection from heavy salt laden winds. Pampas grass, Tamarix, cacti and sand fence mainly.

    1. Pat Collins

      The wild cabbage Brassica oleracea (from which broccoli, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower were all derived by farmers) is only found growing wild on European seacliffs.

      Other brassicaceae may not be so salt-tolerant. Sea kale (Crambe maritima) is a very salt-tolerant member of the Brassicaceae and grows close to the sea. It has large succulent leaves and edible starchy tubers. It is theorised that sea kale roots might have provided a lot of the carbohydrates for the pioneering humans in Britain after the last Ice Age. It was a popular vegetable as late as the 1800s and probably deserves more attention now.

      Other popular crops derived from seaside plants include beets, asparagus and opium poppies. Samphire (Salicornia) is relatively unknown and still mostly local but has even more succulent flesh and is delightful.

  3. Katherine

    Well, after reading that this plant is called American Sea Rocket, I was not surprised to hear it is a brassica. In parts of the US, the salad green arugula is called rocket, and it is definitely a mustard, which are brassicas. In terms of growing related plants in a seaside vegetable garden, per Scott’s comments, in California there are many commercial growers of things like brussel sprouts whose farms are right on the cliffs next to the ocean. We frequently go to Sunset State Beach, near Watsonville, California, and there is a large brussel sprout farm right next to the state beach. They seem to tolerate the salt very well, and like the sandy soil and cooler temperatures you get right next to the Pacific Ocean.

  4. Linda Paris

    This species also occurs in the Chicago Region on beaches along Lake Michigan in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. See Plants of the Chicago Region by Swink and Wilhelm (4th Ed. p. 172).

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