Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Harper's Searocket - Cakile harperi   Small
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Section 6 » Family Brassicaceae
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AuthorSmall
DistributionStrictly coastal, from Dare County to the SC line. This is the northern edge of the range, and thus the absence from Currituck County is likely real.

This species is strictly coastal, ranging from NC south to the east coast of FL.
AbundanceCommon along the coast at least north to Hyde County, and perhaps numerous in Dare County.
HabitatThis and C. edentula both occur on beaches, dunes, and sand flats -- separated essentially by range, this being more southerly.
See also Habitat Account for Ocean Beaches and Sand Flats
PhenologyBlooms mainly in May and June, and sporadically at other times of 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" 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: "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). In C. edentula "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".
Taxonomic CommentsOften lumped with C. edentula into a single species.

Other Common Name(s)Southeastern Searocket
State RankS3 [S4]
Global RankG5T4 [G4]
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