September 19, 2017

A Beach Blast

Cakile edentula

Cakile edentula - Photos courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Cakile edentula

Cakile edentula

Wander along a salty Maine shoreline and you may see this native plant resting comfortably above the high-tide line, its lavender flowers nicely contrasted against fleshy green leaves that are wider at the tip than where they connect to the stem. At first glance, Cakile edentula may in no way resemble its common name of American searocket, at least not until you take a closer look at the seedpods. Those do look like a bouquet of miniature missiles, ready to blast off. Searocket is a member of the Brassicaceae, or mustard, family and grows anywhere from 6 to 20 inches in height, although its flowers are a mere quarter-inch wide. It blossoms from July to September.

Wednesday is a collaboration of Garden Maine and Glen Mittelhauser of the nonprofit Maine Natural History Observatory, www.mainenaturalhistory.org.