Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Favorite Annual Peruvian Flower

This is a favorite edible flower from Peru, the nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) flowers and leaves are both edible. They were grown by kings such as Louis XIV of France and President Thomas Jefferson grew them also. The flowers and leaves have a peppery taste. The flowers shown in the picture below are from the 'Whirlybird' series because they do not have a spur. A little crook in the back of the flower is the spur. It can hide insects taking a nap, small ants in particular! They grow very easily in well drained soil and do not need fertilizer because that will lead to more leaves than flowers. The plants are very easily grown from seed so it would be a good one to plant with your kids. The variegated leaf is from the 'Alaska' series. Sometimes the leaves get as big as doilies and I have used them as such on an appetizer platter. One of my favorite ways to eat the flowers is filled with guacamole. Don't forget to take out the reproductive parts of the flower before eating and only eat organically grown flowers. They are a great fall flowering plant until a hard frost comes along.

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