TWO-HORNED SEA ROCKET
(Photos: E. Cousins, Cape Jervis)
This member of the mustard family is a sprawling, succulent annual, up to half a metre tall. It grows in clumps in the sand along seashores, such as Morgans Beach. Leaves are fleshy, shiny, green and deeply lobed. The 4-petalled pale purple flowers appear year round. They open from the bottom of the stalk, with fruits sometimes appearing at the bottom of that stalk simultaneously. The ‘rocket’ in the common name doesn’t come from the plant being edible like salad greens, but from the shape of its corky brown fruits … they are swollen, both with or without horns, near the base, making a ‘rocket’ shape!
(Photos: E. Cousins)
It’s the stalk of this plant that is scaly, not the leaf or flower! The flowers are like little yellow buttons, and are produced on long, thin, brown stalks which have scaly leaflets on them. (‘Squamatus’ means ‘scales’.) Note also the cup-shaped base underneath the flower, and the scales on this as well … a distinguishing feature. The plant is really only shin high, with the flowers sitting above the foliage. Its very green leaves are lance-shaped, and have white hairs on the underside. Clumps of this perennial herb grow to about 40cm across. This is an adaptable and hardy plant, tolerant of frost and drought, useful characteristics for Cape Jervis gardens!