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Uses

Edible uses

Notes

Leaves - raw[1][2][3][4][5][6]. A hot watercress flavour[7]. Very nice on its own or as a flavouring in mixed salads[K]. Rich in vitamin C[8]. The leaves are available from early summer until the first frosts of the autumn[K].

Flowers - raw[1][2][3][5][6][7]. A very ornamental and tasty addition to the salad bowl, the flowers have a hot watercress flavour and are available all through the summer[7, K]. The flowers contain about 130mg vitamin C per 100g[9]. Young seed pods - raw[1][3][4][5][6]. These are even hotter than the flowers or leaves[K]. They can also be harvested whilst immature and pickled for use as a caper substitute[7][10].

Seed - raw or cooked[11]. Very hot[K]. The mature seed can be ground into a powder and used as a pepper substitute[7]. The seed contains 26% protein and 10% oil[9].

Unknown part

Flowers

Leaves

Seedpod

Material uses

The seeds yield a high percentage of a drying oil that can be used in making paints, varnish etc[2].

The growing plant attracts aphids away from other plants. Research indicates that aphids flying over plants with orange or yellow flowers do not stop, nor do they prey on plants growing next to or above the flowers[8].

An insecticide can be made from an infusion of leaves and soap flakes[8].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Nasturtium has long been used in Andean herbal medicine as a disinfectant and wound-healing herb, and as an expectorant to relieve chest conditions[12]. All parts of the plant appear to be antibiotic and an infusion of the leaves can be used to increase resistance to bacterial infections and to clear nasal and bronchial catarrh[12]. The remedy seems to both reduce catarrh formation and stimulate the clearing and coughing up of phlegm[12]. The leaves are antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, aperient, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, laxative and stimulant[2][13][10]. A glycoside found in the plant reacts with water to produce an antibiotic[10]. The plant has antibiotic properties towards aerobic spore forming bacteria[14]. Extracts from the plant have anticancer activity[9]. The plant is taken internally in the treatment of genito-urinary diseases, respiratory infections, scurvy and poor skin and hair conditions[10]. Externally it makes an effective antiseptic wash and is used in the treatment of baldness, minor injuries and skin eruptions[10]. Any part of the plant can be used, it is harvested during the growing season and used fresh[10].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Climber

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow April in situ. The seed usually germinates within 2 weeks. Seed can also be sown in March in pots in a greenhouse and planted out in late spring or early summer.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Tropaeolum majus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Tolerates most soils[15], though it prefers a rich light well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade[3][4][6]. More and lusher leaves are produced when the plant is growing in a rich soil, though less flowers are produced[10]. When grown in a soil of low fertility the leaves are smaller and less lush, though more flowers are produced[200, K] The plant will also succeed in very poor soils[15]. It dislikes drought[6].

This species is not frost hardy in Britain but it is often grown in the flower garden as an annual when it will frequently self-sow[6]. In cold springs, however, the seed will often not germinate until mid or even late summer, which is too late to produce a reasonable crop[K]. A very ornamental and free-flowering species, it is often in bloom from early summer until cut down by the autumn frosts[K]. A climbing plant, it supports itself by twisting its leaf stalks around other plants etc[16]. There are many named varieties, some of which are low-growing forms that do not climb[183, 202, K]. The flowers have a very pleasing mild scent[17]. The Gleam Hybrid cultivars are more strongly scented[17]. A good companion plant in the garden, growing well with radishes, cabbages and fruit trees, improving their growth and flavour[3][18]. A good companion for many plants, keeping many harmful insects at bay and also improving the growth and flavour of neighbouring crops[8]. Aphids on nasturtiums indicate a lime deficiency in the soil[18].

Slugs and snails love eating this plant, so it can be grown to attract them away from other plants[8]. The caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly can be a nuisance and often cause considerable damage to the leaves[16].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

Malus domestica (Apple)

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Tropaeolum majus.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Tropaeolum majus
Genus
Tropaeolum
Family
Tropaeolaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
9
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    ?
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.3 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.12.22.32.42.52.6 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.23.33.43.5 Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.24.3 Bryan. J. and Castle. C. Edible Ornamental Garden. Pitman Publishing ISBN 0-273-00098-5 (1976-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.3 Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.46.56.6 Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.4 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.48.58.6 Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.4 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.410.510.610.710.8 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.112.212.3 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Davis. B. Climbers and Wall Shrubs. Viking. ISBN 0-670-82929-3 (1990-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls Collins ISBN 0-00-219220-0 (1983-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.1 Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
    19. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)

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