Nasturtium (literally "nose-twister" or "nose-tweaker"), as a common name, refers to a genus of roughly 80 species of annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Tropaeolum ("Trophy"), one of three genera in the family Tropaeolaceae. It should not be confused with the Watercresses of the genus Nasturtium, of the Mustard family. This genus, native to South and Central America, includes several very popular garden plants, the most commonly grown being T. majus, T. peregrinum and T. speciosum. The hardiest species is T. polyphyllum from Chile, the perennial roots of which can survive underground when air temperatures drop as low as -15°C (5°F).
Tropaeolum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Dot Moth and Garden Carpet. A very common "pest" found on Nasturtium in particular is the caterpillar of the Large White (Cabbage White) Butterfly.
The Nasturtiums receive their name from the fact that they produce an oil that is similar to that produced by Watercress (Nasturtium officinale), from the family Brassicaceae.
Cultivation and uses
In cultivation, most varieties of nasturtiums prefer to be grown in direct or indirect sunlight, with a few preferring partial shade.
The most common use of the nasturtium plant in cultivation is as an ornamental flower. It grows easily and prolifically, and is a self-seeding annual.
All parts of the plant are edible. The flower has most often been consumed, making for an especially ornamental salad ingredient; it has a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of watercress, and is also used in stir fry. The unripe seed pods can be harvested and pickled with hot vinegar, to produce a condiment and garnish, sometimes used in place of capers, although the taste is strongly peppery. The mashua (T. tuberosum) produces an edible underground tuber that is a major food source in parts of the Andes.
Nasturtiums are also considered widely useful companion at many cucurbit pests, like squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and several caterpillars. They had a similar range of benefits for brassica plants, especially broccoli and cauliflower. They also attract black fly aphids, and are sometimes planted in the hope of saving crops susceptible to them (as a trap crop). They may also attract beneficial, predatory insects.
Antique P.J. Redoute Print.
Pot plants on tablecloth, cross-stitch.
Antique English linen on chair.
Believe it or not:
Socrates 469/470-399 BC surveying the goods on a market stall remarked:" What a lot of things a man doesn't need."
Organic tip of the week.
Lavender oil is an essential oil obtained by distillation from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender. Two forms are distinguished, lavender flower oil, a colorless oil, insoluble in water, having a density of 0.885 g/ml; and lavender spike oil, a distillate from the herb Lavandula latifolia, having density 0.905 g/ml. Lavender flower oil is a designation of the National Formulary and the British Pharmacopoeia. Like all essential oils, it is not a pure compound; it is a complex mixture of naturally occurring phytochemicals, including linalool and linalyl acetate.
Lavender oil, which has long been used in the production of perfume, can also be used in aromatherapy. The scent has a calming effect which may aid in relaxation and the reduction of anxiety. Also, lavender can be used to prepare for meditation because it balances mind and body, promoting a sense of stillness.
It may also help to relieve pain from tension headache when breathed in as vapor or diluted and rubbed on the skin. When added to a vaporizer, lavender oil may aid in the treatment of cough and respiratory infection.
Lavender oil may also be used as a mosquito repellent when worn as perfume or when added to lotions or hair products.
According to advocates of alternative medicine, lavender oil can be used as first aid and to treat a variety of common ailments.
The diluted or undiluted oil may be used as an antiseptic and pain reliever to be applied to minor burns and insect bites and stings. Use only small quantities when it's directly apply to your skin. It is best applied on a wet cotton wool pad to the infected area.
For the treatment of sunburn and sunstroke, 10 drops of oil can be diluted in 25 ml of carrier oil. (Note: This is not an effective sunblock.) When added to chamomile, lavender oil may be effective on eczema.
To create a massage oil which may be effective in the relief of joint and muscle pain, 1 ml of oil can be added to 1 oz. of carrier oil and rubbed liberally on the affected area. To create a chest rub for relief of asthmatic and bronchitic spasm, 1 ml of lavender oil and 5 drops of chamomile oil can be added to 10 ml of carrier oil.
As a treatment for head lice, 5-10 drops of oil can be diluted in water to produce a hair rinse, while a few drops of undiluted oil can be added to a fine comb to eliminate nits.
As far as serious ailments, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found that lavender oil may have played a role in the reduction of advanced mammary tumors in lab rats. Research is on-going for potential breast, ovarian, pancreatic, liver, and prostate cancer treatments.[However lavender should not be used within the first three months of pregnancy.
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Copyright T.S. Yesterdaytodayandtomorrow in my Garden.