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Nasturtium: watercolour painting by Marina Albert, 1995 [9 of 17]

1995 Tropaeolum majus L. - Nasturtium.
The plant is native to central and South America.
The botanical name is said to mean trophy and was given by Linnaeus because it represented the Roman tropaeum, a symbolic pillar erected after battles. The flower is said to represent the blood-stained helmets and the winding leaves the armour of the vanquished foe displayed on a tall trophy pole. In the 17th century in England and Europe it was grown on pillars.
Another explanation is the Latin for 'nose' and 'tortium' meaning 'twisting'. It has been called the 'nose tormentor' for its pungent scent.
It has a peppery taste and the leaves and flowers are used in salads. The seed pods can be cured in vinegar and spice and used instead of capers. The leaves are said to be rich in vitamin C.
Plant them in the salad next to broccoli (to deter black-fly) and radishes as a companion plant. Grown under apple trees they will keep away woolly aphis.
Specimen grown in artist's vegetable garden.