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Tropaeolum majus (Garden Nasturtium, Indian Cress or Monks Cress) is a flowering plant in the family Tropaeolaceae, originating in South America in the Andes from Boliviamarker north to Colombiamarker. It is of cultivated, probably hybrid origin, with possible parent species including T. minus, T. moritzianum, T. peltophorum, and T. peregrinum.

Flower showing nectar spur
It is a herbaceous annual plant with trailing stems growing to 1 m long or more. The leaves are large, nearly circular, 3-15 cm diameter, green to glaucous green above, paler below; they are peltate, with the 5-30 cm long petiole near the middle of the leaf, with several veins radiating to the smoothly rounded or slightly lobed margin. The flowers are 2.5–6 cm diameter, with five petals, eight stamens, and a 2.5–3 cm long nectar spur at the rear; they vary from yellow to orange to red, frilled and often darker at the base of the petals. The fruit is 2 cm broad, three-segmented, each segment with a single large seed 1–1.5 cm long.

Cultivation and uses

It is widely cultivated, both as an ornamental plant and as a medicinal plant.

Garden Nasturtiums are grown for their flowers, and also because both their leaves and flowers are edible; they can be used in salads, imparting a delicately peppery taste. The seeds are also edible, and can be used as a caper substitute.

It is listed as invasive in several areas, including Hawaiimarker, Lord Howe Islandmarker, and New Zealandmarker.

References

  1. Germplasm Resources Information Network: Tropaeolum majus
  2. Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  3. Jepson Flora: Tropaeolum majus
  4. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk: Tropaeolum majus
  5. Plants For A Future: Tropaeolum majus


Image:Tropaeolum majus 02 ies.jpg|Underside of leaf showing petiole attachmentImage:Tropaeolum majus 04 ies.jpg|Flower cut through to show structureImage:Tropaeolum majus0.jpg|Immature fruit


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