While the lettuce and herbs in the container garden are slowing down in the heat, the nasturtiums are firing up their orange blooms. I wish I could get some of these to naturalize in the garden itself, but I just have to keep trying, I guess.

Flowering No: Nasturtium

Photo: Douglas E. Welch, A Gardener’s Notebook

Nasturtium /nəˈstɜr.ʃəm/ is a genus of seven plant species in the family Brassicaceae (cabbage family), best known for the edible watercresses Nasturtium microphyllum (Rorippa microphylla) and Nasturtium officinale (R. nasturtium-aquaticum). Nasturtium was previously synonymised with Rorippa, but molecular evidence supports its maintenance as a distinct genus more closely related to Cardamine than to Rorippasensu stricto (Al-Shehbaz & Price, 1998; Al-Shehbaz, Beilstein & Kellogg, 2006).

These plants are related to garden cress and mustard, noteworthy for a peppery, tangy (pungent) flavor. The name Nasturtium comes from the Latin nasus tortus, meaning “twisted nose”, in reference to the effect on the nasal passages of eating the plants. Nasturtium foliage is used as food by the caterpillars of certain Lepidoptera, including Orthonama obstipata (The Gem).

One species, Nasturtium gambelii, is a federally listed endangered species in the United States. —

More information on Nasturtium:

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Previously in Flowering Now: