Sea caterpillar (Cakile maritima)

It is not surprising that the Cakile maritima or as it is usually known, sea caterpillar, is not so well known by the vast majority, since it is a plant that at first glance seems to be part of the vegetation without having any importance.

The truth is that those who know where to find it and differentiate it from the rest of the plants, know the great potential that this plant has. Those who have been to beaches, most likely have already seen this plant.

Characteristics of the Cakile maritima

First you have to start by saying that the name Cakile mariima is the scientific name that is given to the plant, although it is usually known under the name of sea caterpillar, maritime radish, among others.

Luckily, it is a plant that has not yet been endangered by human activity, so this particular species is not in danger of extinction. In general it is usually seen on the coastlines since it is a herbaceous plant.

It is very difficult for the plant to appear in other areas whose terrain is very different from the sandy one. Thanks to its herbaceous plant characteristics, the sea caterpillar is very successful when it comes to growing and colonizing the area once its seeds have germinated.

It is for this reason that it is very common to see this plant on beaches and sandy areas with a high density of salts in the soil. They tend to grow very fast and the vast majority of the seeds that fall to the ground end up adapting to the ground, giving life to a new plant.

There is a great possibility that the sea caterpillar can grow near the asphalt and sidewalks, as long as the seed manages to germinate in fertile soil for this plant and if the conditions are suitable. This is possible thanks to the size of its seeds that can practically enter any small hole.

On the other hand, its stem is very thin and is not so rigid, but it maintains a sufficient hardness so that the stems can grow up to 50 cm at most. The plant is not very tall if you compare it with other herbaceous plants, but it is quite bushy and a single plant of these can generate a large number of stems and clusters.

This may not be a plant that you can have in your backyard or in a garden that you have, but if you have a house near the beach or you live in a field with similar characteristics, the sea caterpillar will give you an excellent view. time to bloom.

When it does, it tends to produce a lot of flowers to the point of looking like a bunch of flowers. For this reason, it is recommended that if you intend to have this plant, try as much as possible to keep several plants of the same class as close together as possible. This way, once it blooms, it will look much better and will be noticed.

Also, its flowers are white, although sometimes they tend to turn a pink hue, and they are not very large, since the plant size is quite small. So the size of each flower does not exceed one centimeter and they are made up of 4 petals and 6 stamens.

The most common is that the flowers appear at the end of each stem. But there is a possibility that some of the stems of the sea caterpillar generate a small cluster of flowers.

An important aspect to highlight regarding the flowers of the Cakile maritima plant is that it is a plant capable of being with flowers all year round. Of course, the same flower will not stay alive throughout the year, but the plant will constantly be generating new flowers.

As for their blades, they don’t have much to offer in terms of design, as they are quite simple. They are simple leaves that can be between 3 and 6 cm long, have a flattened appearance and tend to have different sizes per cluster. They tend to be alternated and have a fleshy texture, and in terms of the size of their leaves, they do not exceed 3 mm in width.


As already mentioned above, it is a plant that preferably grows in coastal areas or where there is an accumulation of seaweed. However, you can see this plant growing in nitrified dunes.

Which implies that its adaptability to these soils is far above other plants of the same class. This great resistance makes it a plant resistant to extreme spaces and impossible to plant in normal gardens.

Being a plant that grows in places where other plants can hardly live, it absolutely needs the sun to live and grow. The sea caterpillar will not live or grow in places that can cover it from the sun.

Being a sunny plant, it does not mean that the heat it can withstand is excessive. Its growth and life is favored as long as the heat is moderate. In addition, for the sea caterpillar to grow, it necessarily needs a soil that is not very humid and is dry.

Therefore, the soil where it will grow must have a moderate level of humidity. It also requires a soil whose acidity levels are very low.

Medical uses

This plant can be harvested in such a way that once its leaves have been crushed, a certain amount of juice can be extracted. This juice or juice to be more specific, is sweetened with sugar and will serve as a natural remedy for colds. Even the same juice without adding sugar works very well as an effective healing agent.

If you fancy having sea caterpillar juice as an aperitif, it will also benefit you, mainly because it will work as a stimulant for the nervous system, not to mention that it is a rich source of vitamin C.

You just have to keep in mind that you have to make these preparations once you have collected the leaves of the plant, otherwise its effect will not be the same. The disadvantage of this plant is that it is found in specific places and not in common places, which is a problem if you want to do a sea caterpillar treatment.

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