First, I have to thank ValeryAst for his User Award on my "Spadices and Spathes", and of course all of you who voted and commented. Many thanks, Valery.
They are now on their last legs, but what a show of colour they have provided, despite the adverse weather. I love their bright flowers, the funnel-shaped nectar tube in the back, their twining stalks, and attractive buds.
As a bonus, all parts are edible (flower, leaf and seeds), and can be used as a salad or pasta ingredient, giving a peppery punch similar to watercress. The seeds, when young and green, have been likened to capers when pickled, and offer their fair share of Vitamin C. The flowers are also high in Vitamin C and thought to help prevent scurvy, lung problems and blocked bronchial tubes.
The most fascinating use is as a tonic to prevent baldness. A lotion was made from the leaves, flowers and seeds, then mixed with nettle leaves and oak leaves.
The botanical name Tropaelum is from the Green tropiaon (a trophy). In ancient Greece, shields and helmets of defeated enemy were fixed onto tree trunks. It was thought that the nasturtium leaves resembled shields, with the flowers resembling helmets.
The flower gets it's name from the Latin nasusm (nose) and tortus (twisted) because their smell makes the nose wrinkle or twist and so is literally a "nose-twister" or "nose-tweaker".
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