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!


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.

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