Thursday, 11 August 2011

Rampant Nasturtiums


Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
A rampant hardy annual introduced to Britain from Peru in 1684, this easy-to-grow, twining plant has been a favourite cottage plant ever since.  In Elizabethan times it was called 'yellow larks heels'.  It has highly attractive shield-shaped leaves and masses of lovely trumpet flowers in bright yellow, red, orange and crimson.  Can be found with single, semi-double and double blooms.  It will flower from early summer to the first frosts and does best in poor soil.  Sow it in spring where it's to flower and stand well back!

The fresh leaves and flowers give bite to savoury foods, and the green seed pods can be pickled and used as capers.  The whole plant, a reputed rejunevator and aphrodisiac, is used in hair and scalp tonics.  The seeds contain an antibiotic and an infusion treats coughs, colds and infection.

The vitamin-rich flowers attract hoverflies which eat aphids and its local name is Indian Cress, grown in the Andes for 8,000 years.




7 comments:

  1. I happily grow lots on the plot, and I particularly like the ones as shown in the second photo. Flighty xx

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  2. Such a simple flower but they add a bit of sunshine to the plot - I have added another colour, a particular favourite of mine.

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  3. How pretty they are. I love the yellow and red combination in the bloom.

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  4. Love them. I grow them with my veggies. Do you eat yours too? Nice and peppery.

    Elspeth

    MyGardenSchool

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  5. I am a bit cautious about eating flowers, it doesn't seem natural somehow.

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  6. One of my faves, to eat and to look at. Beautiful. They self seed easily too.

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  7. The ones in the picture are all self-seeded - a bonus.

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Hello The short blogging break I intended to re-charge my batteries has changed into a rather more extended one - longer than I anticipate...