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Tropaeolum majus (Nasturtium)



















An Introduced flower to India . Nasturtiums are bright and happy little flowers, that even the Grinch could not help but love. All parts of the plant are edible. The flower has most often been consumed, making for an especially ornamental salad ingredient; it has a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of watercress, and is also used in stir fry. The unripe seed pods can be harvested and pickled with hot vinegar, to produce a condiment and garnish, sometimes used in place of capers, although the taste is strongly peppery. Nasturtiums are also considered widely useful companion plants. They repel a great many pests, and several caterpillars. also attract black fly, and are sometimes planted in the hope of saving crops susceptible to them. They may also attract beneficial, predatory insects.
Many cultivars have been derived from Tropaeolum majus, including climbing types and dwarf, bushy types. All have rounded or kidney shaped leaves with wavy-margins. The leaves are pale green, about 2-5 in (5.1-12.7 cm) across, and are borne on long petioles like an umbrella. The flowers typically have five petals, although there are double and semi-double varieties. The flowers are about 1-2 in (2.5-5.1 cm) in diameter and come in a kaleidoscope of colors including russet, pink, yellow, orange, scarlet and crimson.

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