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Dieren en planten

Plants   Crucifer family   Seakale   Sea rocket   Grass Family   Sand couch   Beach flora   White flowers   

Water en land

Mens en Milieu

Sea rocket


plant: 10-60 tall
flower: 1 centimeter
seed: 1-3 centimeters


flower: white or lilac
fruit: corky brown


June to October

dispersion of seeds:

via water and wind


via insects


along all European coasts

  • Dut: Zeeraket
  • Lat: Cakile maritima
  • Eng: Sea Rocket
  • Fren: Cakilier
  • Ger: Meersenf
  • Dan: Strandsennep
Sea rocket, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

Sea rocket

Life on a wind-blown beach plain is not easy, but sea rocket is a hardy plant that is resistant to such rough circumstances. It grows relatively far from the high tide line on top of buried flood marks or other organic material, just like sand couch. Without these nutrients, particualrly nitrogen, sea rocket cannot grow. Both sea rocket and sand couch are important plants for dune formation. Onces they take root, they catch sand which slowly turns into a dune.

  • Distribution and habitat
    Sea rocket, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Sea rocket grows on beaches and bluffs along most European coasts. It used to be a common plant along the Dutch North Sea coast, however coastal erosion has made it more scarse. Despite the closure of the Zuiderzee, the plant still grows in scattered places along the IJsselmeer. You even find it occasionally on building sites or other areas where sea sand has been dumped.

  • Life on sea rocket
    Flea beetle on sea rocket, © Malcolm Storey, 2010,

    There is a beetle specialized in living on sea rocket. It is the flea beetle Psylliodes marcida. These flea beetles are very small, just 2-3 mm in size. However, they have very strong muscular hind legs for jumping.

  • Blowing in the wind
    Sea rocket, seedling, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Unlike sand couch which is a perennial, sea rocket only lives for one year. Therefore it needs to produce seeds in order to survive. Sea rocket has several ways to spread them. Besides just falling directly on the ground, the corky fruits can drift up to a week long in water before washing ashore and germinating. Another ingenious method is waiting till the plant has totally dried in the autumn. It then easily breaks off from its root and uses the wind to tumble over the surface, dropping seeds along the way. Plants which grow on deserts and other hot dry surfaces use this same method to spread its seeds.