Brassicaceae - Cakile edentula var. lacustris

BOT 360F - Families of Vascular Plants

Note the four petals; you can just make out that there are in fact six stamens in the flower. The fruits contain two seeds, one above the constriction and the other below. Compared to other Brassicaceae it appears that only one locule may set seed. The story is that the upper half of the fruit may break off and become dispersed, while the lower half remains attached to the parent plant that by the end of the growing season already looks like a dried up tumbleweed (Varga 1987).

We saw this plant at the Toronto Islands on our October field trip. In July 2001 (at left and below) this annual species was much more abundant. The Great Lakes basin represents a disjunction in the distribution of of C. edentula as this species is otherwise confined to the Atlantic coast of North America. Another feature adapting this species to a coastal environment is the succulence of its leaves and fruits.

Photo at left © ; 2001 R. Rutishauser.

Population of Cakile edentula var. lacustris (together with Cycloloma atriplicifolium in the Chenopodiaceae, and sandbar willow, Salix exigua) on the beach at Ward's Island, July 2001.

Photos (left and above) © ; T. A. Dickinson 2001

Fruits collected in September 2004. Sketch notes © ; K. Chin 2004.


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Please send your comments to tim.dickinson@utoronto.ca; last updated 25-Oct-2008