Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for American Searocket - Cakile edentula   (Bigelow) Hooker
Members of Brassicaceae:
Members of Cakile with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Capparales » Family Brassicaceae
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Author(Bigelow) Hooker
DistributionPresent only along the coast, but mostly found on the northern portion south to Hatteras Island.

This species and C. harperi are often lumped as a single species, and thus the overall ranges of the two are slightly muddled. This species occurs from Labrador south to NC.
AbundancePerhaps fairly common or common from the VA line to Hatteras Island, but rare to uncommon to Brunswick County. It appears to be less numerous along the coast than is C. harperi, but which species is more numerous in Currituck and Dare counties is not clear.
HabitatThis is a species of beaches and foredunes, including sand flats. Habitats appear to be identical to those of C. harperi in NC.
See also Habitat Account for Ocean Beaches and Sand Flats
PhenologyBlooms in May and June, and sporadically over the year; fruits soon after flowering.
IdentificationBoth of these two species are almost identical. They are bushy, with very thick and fleshy stem and leaves, growing to about 6-9 inches tall, with widely spreading branches. The few alternate stem leaves are obovate to spatulate, with a few teeth. Each branch ends in a raceme, with scattered small flowers that have pink to whitish petals. These two species are separated by fruit characters: in this species "Upper fruit segment 7-15 mm long, 4-angled (to weakly 8-ribbed); articulating surface of lower fruit segment flat to concave and with 2 (-6) small teeth projecting upward or the sides prolonged upward into 2 opposite triangular wedges", versus "upper fruit segment 12-20 mm long, 8-ribbed; articulating surface of lower fruit segment flat (to slightly convex or concave) and without teeth" in C. harperi, according to Weakley (2018).
Taxonomic CommentsMany references lump these two, though usually as varieties of one species or the other.

Other Common Name(s)Northeastern Searocket
State RankS3
Global RankG5
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