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Sea Radish

Raphanus raphanistrum maritimus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Brassicaceae (Cabbage)
Also in this family:
Alpine Pennycress, Alpine Rock-cress, American Wintercress, Annual Wall Rocket, Austrian Yellowcress, Awlwort, Bastard Cabbage, Black Mustard, Bristol Rock-cress, Charlock, Common Scurvygrass, Common Whitlowgrass, Coralroot, Creeping Yellowcress, Cuckooflower, Dame's-violet, Danish Scurvygrass, Dittander, Early Wintercress, Eastern Rocket, English Scurvygrass, Evergreen Candytuft, False London Rocket, Field Pennycress, Field Pepperwort, Flixweed, Garden Arabis, Garden Candytuft, Garden Cress, Garden Radish, Garden Rocket, Garlic Mustard, Glabrous Whitlowgrass, Gold of Pleasure, Great Yellowcress, Greater Cuckooflower, Greater Periwinkle, Greater Swinecress, Hairy Bittercress, Hairy Rock-cress, Hairy Rocket, Hairy Whitlowgrass, Hedge Mustard, Hoary Cress, Hoary Mustard, Hoary Stock, Hoary Whitlowgrass, Honesty, Horseradish, Hutchinsia, Hybrid Watercress, Intermediate Periwinkle, Isle of Man Cabbage, Large Bittercress, Lesser Swinecress, London Rocket, Lundy Cabbage, Marsh Yellowcress, Mountain Scurvygrass, Narrow-fruited Watercress, Narrow-leaved Bittercress, Narrow-leaved Pepperwort, Northern Rock-cress, Northern Yellowcress, Oilseed Rape, Perennial Rocket, Perennial Wall Rocket, Perfoliate Pennycress, Pinnate Coralroot, Purple Rock-cress, Pyrenean Scurvygrass, Rock Whitlowgrass, Russian Rocket, Scottish Scurvygrass, Sea Kale, Sea Rocket, Sea Stock, Shepherd's Cress, Shepherd's Purse, Small-flowered Wintercress, Smith's Pepperwort, Steppe Cabbage, Swede, Sweet Alyssum, Tall Rocket, Thale Cress, Tower Mustard, Treacle Mustard, Trefoil Cress, Turnip, Wall Whitlowgrass, Wallflower, Wallflower Cabbage, Warty Cabbage, Watercress, Wavy Bittercress, White Mustard, Wild Cabbage, Wild Candytuft, Wild Radish, Wild Turnip, Wintercress, Woad, Yellow Whitlowgrass
Life Cycle:
Biennial or Perennial
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Beaches, grassland, rocky places, saltmarshes, sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside, wasteland.

Yellow, 4 petals
The flowers of Sea Radish are distinctive and attractive, typically showcasing four petals arranged in a cross shape. These petals are usually yellow but can sometimes be white, adding to the plant's visual diversity. The flowers are about 1-1.5 cm in diameter and are borne on slender, erect stems. Each petal has a delicate, slightly crinkled texture, and the flowers exude a subtle fragrance that attracts various pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The flowering season extends from late spring to early autumn, during which the bright blooms stand out against the green, lobed foliage, creating a striking contrast along coastal landscapes.
The fruit of Sea Radish is an elongated, segmented pod known as a silique. These pods can reach lengths of up to 10 cm and have a distinctive beaded appearance due to the constrictions between the seeds. The surface of the pods is often covered in fine hairs, and they mature from green to a light brown or tan color as they dry out. Inside, the pod contains several small, round seeds separated by narrow partitions. These seeds are initially green but turn brown as they ripen. The segmented structure of the fruit allows it to break apart easily, aiding in seed dispersal. The robust nature of these pods helps protect the seeds until they are ready to germinate, ensuring the propagation of the Sea Radish in its coastal habitats.
The leaves of Sea Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. maritimus) are deeply lobed and can grow quite large, with a rough, slightly hairy texture. They are dark green in color and have a somewhat crinkled or wavy appearance. The basal leaves, which grow close to the ground, are usually larger and more lobed than the upper stem leaves. Each leaf is divided into several lobes, with a larger terminal lobe and smaller lateral lobes, giving them a distinctive, irregular shape. The leaf margins are often toothed or serrated. These leaves are not only important for photosynthesis but also contribute to the plant's resilience in harsh coastal environments by reducing water loss and protecting against wind damage. Additionally, the young leaves are edible and can be used in salads, offering a peppery, radish-like flavor.
Sea Radish has a subtle yet distinct fragrance, especially noticeable when the plant is in bloom. The flowers emit a delicate, slightly spicy scent that is reminiscent of other members of the mustard family. This gentle fragrance attracts various pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, which are drawn to the flowers' mild yet appealing aroma. The leaves, when crushed, also release a faint, peppery smell that is characteristic of radishes. While the fragrance of Sea Radish is not overpowering, it adds to the plant's overall sensory appeal and enhances the foraging experience along coastal areas.
Other Names:
Maritime Wild Radish, Sea Rocket, Wild Radish.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. maritimus, commonly known as sea radish or maritime wild radish, is a subspecies of wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) in the family Brassicaceae. It is native to the coastal regions of Europe, Asia, and North Africa and it is widely naturalized in many other parts of the world. Sea radish is a biennial or perennial herb that can grow up to 1.5 m tall. It has large, lobed leaves and yellow or white flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. The plant grows in sandy or rocky soils, and it can tolerate salty conditions, hence its name. The leaves and young seedpods are edible and can be used in salads or as a cooked green. Sea radish is considered as a weed by many farmers because it can outcompete crops for resources and can host pests and diseases.


Sea radish (Raphanus raphanistrum maritimus) is a plant that belongs to the Brassicaceae family and is native to the coastal regions of Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. It is also commonly known as wild radish or sea rocket. The plant is known for its pungent and peppery taste, and its leaves, seeds, and roots are used for culinary and medicinal purposes.

Appearance and Habitat

Sea radish has green, lance-shaped leaves that grow from the base of the plant, and yellow flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant can grow up to 1.5 meters in height, and it prefers to grow in sandy soils near the coast or in disturbed areas.

Culinary uses

Sea radish is often used in salads, sandwiches, and as a garnish due to its pungent and peppery flavor. The young leaves can also be cooked and used as a vegetable or added to soups and stews. The seeds of the plant are sometimes used as a substitute for mustard seeds, and the root can be pickled or grated and added to dishes for a spicy kick.

Medicinal properties

Sea radish has been traditionally used for its medicinal properties as well. The plant contains high levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants, which can help boost the immune system and protect against cell damage. It is also rich in fiber, which can aid in digestion and help promote regular bowel movements. In addition, sea radish has been used to treat skin irritations and infections due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Ecological value

Sea radish is an important plant in coastal ecosystems, as it helps to stabilize sand dunes and prevent erosion. The plant is also an important food source for many coastal birds, such as sandpipers and plovers, and its flowers attract bees and other pollinators.

In conclusion, sea radish is a versatile plant that has culinary, medicinal, and ecological value. Its pungent and peppery taste adds a unique flavor to dishes, while its medicinal properties can help improve health and well-being. Furthermore, its role in stabilizing coastal ecosystems and providing food for wildlife underscores its importance in the natural world. If you happen to live near the coast, consider exploring the culinary possibilities of this fascinating plant, or simply take a walk along the shoreline and admire the sea radish in its natural habitat.

More Information

Sea radish is a hardy plant that can grow in a wide range of conditions, making it a great choice for coastal gardens or other areas with poor soil. It is also an annual plant, which means that it completes its life cycle in one growing season, producing seeds that can be harvested for future use.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, sea radish has also been used in traditional folk medicine for a variety of ailments, such as coughs, colds, and arthritis. Its high sulfur content is thought to be beneficial for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and it has also been used to soothe insect bites and stings.

While sea radish is generally considered safe for consumption, it is important to be cautious when harvesting and consuming wild plants. As with any wild plant, there is a risk of contamination from pollutants or other toxins, so it is important to ensure that the plant is harvested from a clean and safe environment.

Sea radish is a unique and versatile plant that has been used for centuries for its culinary and medicinal properties. Its peppery flavor and nutritional benefits make it a popular choice for salads and other dishes, while its medicinal properties have been used to treat a wide range of ailments. Whether you are interested in exploring the culinary possibilities of this fascinating plant, or simply appreciate its role in coastal ecosystems, sea radish is a plant that is definitely worth learning more about.

Sea radish is also known for its ability to grow in difficult conditions, such as saline soil and areas with high winds and salt spray. This makes it an important plant in coastal restoration and erosion control projects. Its deep roots help to stabilize sand dunes and prevent soil erosion, while also providing habitat for a variety of coastal wildlife.

In some regions, sea radish is considered an invasive species, as it can quickly spread and outcompete native plant species. In these areas, efforts are being made to control its spread and prevent it from negatively impacting native ecosystems.

In terms of cultivation, sea radish is a relatively easy plant to grow. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. It is also tolerant of drought and can grow in a wide range of soil types. Seeds can be sown directly in the garden in the spring, and the plants should be thinned to allow for adequate spacing.

Sea radish is a fascinating and valuable plant that has been used for a wide range of purposes throughout history. Whether you are interested in its culinary uses, its medicinal properties, or its role in coastal ecosystems, sea radish is a plant that is worth exploring further. With its hardy nature and ability to grow in difficult conditions, it is a plant that can be enjoyed and appreciated by anyone, regardless of gardening experience.

Sea radish has also been used in traditional herbal medicine for its diuretic and expectorant properties, as well as its ability to stimulate the appetite and aid in digestion. It has been used to treat respiratory ailments, such as bronchitis and asthma, and its antiseptic properties make it useful in the treatment of wounds and infections.

The seeds of sea radish are also rich in oil, which can be used for a variety of purposes. The oil is high in unsaturated fatty acids, making it a healthy and nutritious option for cooking or as a dietary supplement. It is also used in cosmetics and skin care products for its moisturizing and nourishing properties.

In some cultures, sea radish is considered a symbol of resilience and strength, due to its ability to survive and thrive in challenging coastal environments. Its deep roots and hardy nature are seen as a metaphor for the ability to overcome adversity and adapt to changing circumstances.

Overall, sea radish is a fascinating and valuable plant that has a rich history of culinary, medicinal, and cultural uses. Whether you are interested in its nutritional benefits, its ability to stabilize coastal ecosystems, or its symbolic significance, sea radish is a plant that is definitely worth learning more about. With its unique flavor, hardy nature, and wide range of uses, sea radish is a plant that is sure to impress and inspire.

Sea Radish Facts

Here are 20 interesting facts about Sea Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. maritimus):

  1. Scientific Classification: Sea Radish belongs to the family Brassicaceae, commonly known as the mustard family.

  2. Appearance: Sea Radish typically has yellow or white flowers with four petals arranged in a cross shape.

  3. Leaves: The leaves of Sea Radish are lobed and can be quite large, with a rough texture.

  4. Height: Sea Radish can grow up to 1 meter (about 3 feet) tall.

  5. Habitat: It is commonly found along coastlines, particularly on sandy and rocky shores.

  6. Edibility: Both the leaves and roots of Sea Radish are edible and have a pungent, peppery flavor.

  7. Seed Pods: The seed pods of Sea Radish are elongated and segmented, often resembling small, curved beads.

  8. Flowering Season: Sea Radish typically flowers from late spring to early autumn.

  9. Pollinators: The flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and other insects.

  10. Distribution: Sea Radish is native to Europe but has spread to other parts of the world, including North America and Australia.

  11. Salt Tolerance: It is highly tolerant of saline conditions, making it well-suited to coastal environments.

  12. Medicinal Uses: Historically, Sea Radish has been used in folk medicine for its purported digestive and anti-inflammatory properties.

  13. Nutritional Value: Sea Radish leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as minerals like calcium and iron.

  14. Invasive Potential: In some regions, Sea Radish is considered invasive because it can outcompete native plant species.

  15. Lifecycle: It is a biennial or annual plant, meaning it completes its lifecycle in one or two years.

  16. Root System: Sea Radish has a deep taproot, which helps it access water and nutrients from deep within the soil.

  17. Growth Habit: It often forms dense clumps, which can help stabilize sandy soils and prevent erosion.

  18. Culinary Use: The young leaves can be used in salads, while the roots can be cooked like traditional radishes.

  19. Historical Use: Sea Radish has been used since ancient times as a food source and for its medicinal properties.

  20. Resilience: It is a hardy plant that can withstand harsh coastal conditions, including strong winds and poor soil quality.

These facts should provide a comprehensive overview of Sea Radish and its various characteristics and uses.


Video 1: Sea Radish filmed at Silverdale on the 27th May 2023.


Music credits
Dark Walk by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Video 2: Sea Radish filmed at Mousehole in Cornwall on the 7th June 2024.


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