Roadside edibles: missed one!

As I was jogging through the Berkeley marina yesterday, I realized I left a roadside edible out of last week’s post!  How could I forget the bright and peppery nasturtium?  It’s pretty much everyone’s favorite edible flower, an easy garnish to dress up your salad.

Tropaeolum majus, or Nasturtium to its friends. I found this one at the Berkeley marina near the parking lot of the Doubletree hotel.

The leaves are good too, but quite spicy.  I just learned that the flowers I know as nasturtium are from Tropaeolum genus (this one is most likely T. majus), but are named for the Nasturtium genus that includes watercress, because they produce a similar peppery-flavored oil.

Nasturtiums are native to Central and South America, but grow easily here. They’re popular not just because they’re pretty and hardy, but also because they deter many types of insect pest, and can act as a “trap crop” for pests (specifically aphids) that would have a more devastating effect on other crops.  Pretty and selfless!

Advertisements

One thought on “Roadside edibles: missed one!

  1. Nice blog! As a chemist (with a PhD from Stanford!) with a strong interest in native and edible plants, I find all of these posts quite interesting. Nasturtiums are not all selfless, though–they can be pretty invasive, too. Ever try pickling the seed pods? Interesting, but I only did it once–not worth the effort.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s