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Sea Stock

Matthiola sinuata

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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 Radish, Sea Rocket, 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:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Gardens, sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside.

Purple, 4 petals
Pale purple flowers, paler and smaller than those of the similar looking Hoary Stock (Matthiola incana).
Numerous curved pods.
A short-lived perennial flower with waxy basal leaves. Toothed or lobed.
Other Names:
Cut-leaved Stock, Fringed Stock.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Matthiola sinuata, also known as Cut-leaved stock or fringed stock, is a annual or short-lived perennial plant in the Brassicaceae family. It is native to Mediterranean region but naturalized in many other parts of the world. It is grown as an ornamental plant for its highly fragrant flowers that bloom in shades of pink, purple, and white. The plant has a bushy habit and can grow to be about 30-60 cm tall. The leaves are lanceolate and have a distinct sinuate margin. The plant is grown in gardens, it is used as a cut flower and also as a pot plant. It is also considered to be a medicinal plant, with traditional uses for treating various ailments.


Sea stock, also known as Matthiola sinuata, is a beautiful and fragrant flower that is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes other popular flowers such as stocks and wallflowers. Sea stock is a hardy annual or biennial that can grow up to 60 cm in height.

The flowers of the sea stock are small and delicate, with four petals that range in color from white to pink to purple. They bloom in the spring and summer, and have a sweet, spicy fragrance that is reminiscent of cloves. The leaves of the sea stock are narrow and gray-green, and the plant itself has a bushy, compact growth habit.

One of the reasons why sea stock is a popular choice for gardeners is its versatility. It can be grown in a variety of settings, from borders and rock gardens to containers and hanging baskets. It is also a great choice for coastal gardens, as it is tolerant of salt spray and other harsh growing conditions.

Sea stock is easy to grow and care for, and is well-suited to both novice and experienced gardeners. It prefers a well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, and requires regular watering to keep the soil moist. It should be planted in full sun to partial shade, and fertilized with a balanced fertilizer every four to six weeks.

One of the most notable characteristics of sea stock is its fragrance. The sweet, spicy scent of the flowers is particularly strong in the evening and at night, making it a popular choice for moon gardens and other nighttime settings. It is also a favorite among bees and other pollinators, making it a valuable addition to any garden ecosystem.

In addition to its ornamental value, sea stock has also been used for medicinal purposes. Its seeds and leaves contain a chemical compound called sinapine, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It has also been used to treat respiratory ailments, including coughs and bronchitis.

Sea stock is a beautiful and fragrant flower that is well-suited to a variety of growing conditions. Whether you are looking to add some color and fragrance to your garden, or seeking a natural remedy for respiratory ailments, sea stock is a wonderful choice.

Sea stock has a long history of use in the Mediterranean region, where it is known as “Gillyflower”. It has been used in traditional Mediterranean medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, digestive issues, and skin conditions.

In addition to its medicinal properties, sea stock has also been used in culinary applications. The leaves of the plant have a spicy, mustard-like flavor that is similar to arugula, and can be used in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes. The flowers are also edible, and can be used to add color and flavor to salads, soups, and other dishes.

Sea stock is also a popular choice for cut flowers, as its delicate blooms and sweet fragrance make it a favorite among florists and home gardeners alike. The flowers are long-lasting and hold up well in floral arrangements, making them a popular choice for weddings and other special events.

In terms of propagation, sea stock can be grown from seed or from cuttings. The seeds should be planted in the fall or early spring, and will germinate within 7-14 days. Cuttings should be taken in the spring or early summer, and should be rooted in a well-draining soil mix.

Sea stock is a versatile and attractive plant that offers a range of benefits to gardeners, beekeepers, and herbalists alike. Whether you are looking to add some color and fragrance to your garden, seeking a natural remedy for respiratory ailments, or simply enjoy the spicy, mustard-like flavor of the leaves, sea stock is a wonderful choice.

Sea stock is also a great choice for companion planting, as it attracts beneficial insects and repels harmful pests. For example, the scent of sea stock is known to repel aphids, which can be a common pest in gardens. Planting sea stock near other plants can help to protect them from aphid infestations, and also attract pollinators to the garden.

Sea stock is also a popular choice for use in aromatherapy and perfumery. Its sweet, spicy scent is thought to have a calming effect on the mind and body, and can be used to promote relaxation and reduce stress. The essential oil of sea stock is often used in perfumes, soaps, and other fragrances.

In terms of conservation, sea stock is not considered to be an endangered species, but it is still important to take steps to protect and preserve the plant. One way to do this is to avoid over-harvesting the plant for its medicinal or culinary uses, and to practice sustainable gardening techniques that minimize the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.

Sea stock is a beautiful, fragrant, and versatile plant that offers a range of benefits to gardeners, herbalists, and nature lovers. Whether you are looking to add some color and fragrance to your garden, seeking a natural remedy for respiratory ailments, or simply enjoy the spicy, mustard-like flavor of the leaves, sea stock is a wonderful choice.

Sea stock has been bred into a variety of cultivars that have different flower colors, heights, and fragrances. Some popular cultivars include ‘Mixed Colors’, which has a mix of white, pink, and purple flowers, and ‘Isabellina’, which has yellow flowers. Other cultivars have been bred for their compact growth habit or for their particularly strong fragrance.

In terms of its cultural significance, sea stock has been used in a variety of ways throughout history. In ancient Greece and Rome, the flowers were used to make wreaths and garlands for celebrations and ceremonies. In the Middle Ages, sea stock was believed to have medicinal properties, and was often used to treat respiratory ailments and other health issues.

Today, sea stock is still a popular choice for gardeners, florists, and herbalists, and is often used in a variety of ways. Its delicate blooms and sweet fragrance make it a popular choice for cut flowers and floral arrangements, while its spicy flavor and medicinal properties make it a valuable addition to the herbal medicine cabinet.

In summary, sea stock is a beautiful, fragrant, and versatile plant that has a long and rich history of use. Whether you are a gardener, herbalist, or lover of nature, sea stock is a wonderful choice that offers a range of benefits and opportunities.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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