Tropaeolum majus

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Botanical Name : Tropaeolum majus
Family: Tropaeolaceae
Genus: Tropaeolum
Species: T. majus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms:
*Cardamindum majus (L.) Moench
*Nasturtium indicum Garsault
*Tropaeolum elatum Salisb.
*Tropaeolum hortense Sparre
*Tropaeolum hybridum L.
*Tropaeolum pinnatum Andrews
*Tropaeolum quinquelobum Bergius
*Trophaeum majus (L.) Kuntze

Common Names: Nasturtium, Indian Cress, Garden nasturtium, Monks cress

Habitat :
Tropaeolum majus is native to S. America – Peru. A garden escape, locally naturalized in parts Europe. It grows on the coastal and disturbed areas from sea level to 3000 metres.

Description:
It is a herbaceous annual or perennial plant with trailing stems growing to 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) long or more. The leaves are large, nearly circular, 3 to 15 centimetres (1.2 to 5.9 in) 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. . It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) . 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…..CLICK  & SEE  THE  PICTURES
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Container, Ground Tolerates most soils, though it prefers a rich light well-drained soil incover, Specimen, Woodland garden. full sun or partial shade. More and lusher leaves are produced when the plant is growing in a rich soil, though less flowers are produced. When grown in a soil of low fertility the leaves are smaller and less lush, though more flowers are produced. The plant will also succeed in very poor soils. It dislikes drought. 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. 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. A very ornamental and free-flowering species, it is often in bloom from early summer until cut down by the autumn frosts. A climbing plant, it supports itself by twisting its leaf stalks around other plants etc. There are many named varieties, some of which are low-growing forms that do not climb. The flowers have a very pleasing mild scent. The Gleam Hybrid cultivars are more strongly scented. A good companion plant in the garden, growing well with radishes, cabbages and fruit trees, improving their growth and flavour. A good companion for many plants, keeping many harmful insects at bay and also improving the growth and flavour of neighbouring crops. Aphids on nasturtiums indicate a lime deficiency in the soil. Slugs and snails love eating this plant, so it can be grown to attract them away from other plants. The caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly can be a nuisance and often cause considerable damage to the leaves. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Edible, Not North American native, Suitable for cut flowers, Fragrant flowers.
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.
Edible Use:
Leaves – raw. A hot watercress flavour. Very nice on its own or as a flavouring in mixed salads. Rich in vitamin C. The leaves are available from early summer until the first frosts of the autumn. Flowers – raw. A very ornamental and tasty addition to the salad bowl, the flowers have a hot watercress flavour and are available all through the summer. The flowers contain about 130mg vitamin C per 100g. Young seed pods – raw. These are even hotter than the flowers or leaves. They can also be harvested whilst immature and pickled for use as a caper substit. Seed – raw or cooked. Very hot. The mature seed can be ground into a powder and used as a pepper substitute. The seed contains 26% protein and 10% oil.
Medicinal Uses :

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Antibacterial; Antibiotic; Antifungal; Antiseptic; Aperient; Depurative; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Expectorant; Laxative; Stimulant.

Nasturtium has long been used in Andean herbal medicine as a disinfectant and wound-healing herb, and as an expectorant to relieve chest conditions. 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. The remedy seems to both reduce catarrh formation and stimulate the clearing and coughing up of phlegm. The leaves are antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, aperient, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, laxative and stimulant. A glycoside found in the plant reacts with water to produce an antibiotic. The plant has antibiotic properties towards aerobic spore forming bacteria. Extracts from the plant have anticancer activity. The plant is taken internally in the treatment of genito-urinary diseases, respiratory infections, scurvy and poor skin and hair conditions. Externally it makes an effective antiseptic wash and is used in the treatment of baldness, minor injuries and skin eruptions. Any part of the plant can be used, it is harvested during the growing season and used fresh. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Tropaeolum majus Nasturtium for urinary tract infections, cough, bronchitis.

Nasturtium is an antiseptic and digestive herb, also used to treat respiratory and urinary disorders; seeds are a vermifuge and crushed for use in poultices for boils and sores.

Other Uses:
Insecticide; Oil; Repellent.

The seeds yield a high percentage of a drying oil that can be used in making paints, varnish etc. 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. An insecticide can be made from an infusion of leaves and soap flakes.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Tropaeolum+majus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropaeolum_majus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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