Foraging Wild Greens: American Sea-rocket

Photo of American Sea-rocket (Cakile edentula)

Tired of tasteless greens in your salads? Perhaps it's time you visited the ocean and gathered some fleshy leaves of American Sea-rocket (Cakile edentula). This plant grows above the high-tide line, among rocks or in the sand, and survives salty, sunny and windy conditions that few species can tolerate.

In early May, thousands of American Sea-rocket seedlings appeared on a small crescent beach I frequent here in southern Maine. Since then, every time I visit, I sample a few leaves and enjoy their peppery punch. The plants have grown since early May, and just yesterday I noticed a few plants beginning to flower. The flowers, young seedpods, and fleshy leaves of this plant are edible (raw or cooked), if you can handle their pungency.

Photo of American Sea-rocket (Cakile edentula) sprouts

For photos of American Sea-rocket flowering and fruiting, visit Go Botany. Before consuming any wild plants, please make sure you've identified the plants positively and considered my other foraging guidelines.

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