Thursday, March 5, 2009

Nose Twisters


Here in Southern California, nasturtiums have become a naturalized weed. You see them in drifts tumbling down the bluffs of Pacific Palisades as you drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. They have escaped from abandoned homesites in Lower Topanga Canyon and are spreading along the base of the cliffs.

Their leaves are immediately recognizable by the distinctive round shape. The flowers are brilliant orange, yellow, and red.


In the garden, nasturtiums are good companion plants. They are said to repel pests - although a somewhat contradictory property of theirs is that they are a trap plant. They attract aphids, drawing those suckery pests away from your roses.

Planting nasturtiums is an easy task - my method is to pour the packet of seed into my hand and fling it into the garden bed. In Southern California I do this in the fall, but in other parts of the country March is the right time. Once you have nasturtiums, you'll never be without them as long as you let them run their course - they self-seed.

In the kitchen, nasturtiums are wonderful edible flowers. They add a spicy bite to a salad, and their colorful flowers add beauty to the table. Nasturtium flowers stuffed with herbed cream cheese make a stunning bite-sized appetizer. You can chop the blossoms and add them to mayonnaise for a pretty look - or add them to a chicken or egg salad.

The name, Nasturtium, means "nose-twister," which must refer to the spicy, peppery flavor and scent of the flowers. The funny thing is, this is Nasturtium's common name. Its botanical name is Tropolaeum majus.

8 comments:

mo.stoneskin said...

Interesting, and more importantly, the leaves are just SO green! Gorgeous green.

KBeau said...

What a funny name - nose twister. I can remember planting nastursium seeds as a child. Might have to try them again.

MyThoughtsMyVoice said...

Yes, funny name indeed. A beautiful, edible weed too! If you happen to make your salads with them, will you post a pic? :-)

Life with Kaishon said...

I would like to add some to my salad today! : ).

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I thought that was an awesome title. D'oh. Name of flower. Beautiful.

JCK said...

Nose twister is such a funny name!

Riet said...

LOvely pink post. Happy pink Saturday

Mermaids of the Lake said...

I love Nastursiums. They are so bright and sunny and edible too. Thanks for the info.