Nasturtium is actually a genus of plants. These include several ornamental species and also the edible variety that is usually meant when speaking of nasturtium.
There are about 90 species of nasturtium. The best-known species is the nasturtium, an edible variety whose buds are used as a substitute for capers. This variety is also used in medicinal plants.
There it is mainly used for diseases of the upper respiratory tract or urinary tract infections. The tuberous nasturtium is also considered a useful plant, it is cultivated in South America as a food plant.
The nasturtium originally comes from Central and South America. There it is mainly at home in the mountainous regions. Many species can now be found as ornamental plants in temperate climates around the world.
The so-called lotus effect of their leaves is particularly impressive: water rolls off in droplets and cleans the surface in the process.
How do the varieties differ?
In seed shops, you can mostly get different annual varieties in various colors and adapted to different needs. In addition to the traditional yellow-orange flowers, there are also salmon, white or red-purple flower colors to choose from.
The leaf shape and size also vary from variety to variety, as does the growth habit of the plant. You will find nasturtiums for a large garden bed as well as for the small flower box on the balcony.
With the large nasturtium, it can also bloom in shady areas of your garden. Although it actually loves the sun, it still thrives well there. It makes an excellent ground cover as it grows quite quickly and luxuriantly. Somewhat smaller-leaved varieties colorfully embellish bare fences or grow on trellises.
The most important distinguishing features:
- annual or perennial
- ornamental or useful plant
- crawling or climbing
- leaf size and shape
Not only are the buds and flowers of the large nasturtium edible, but also the young leaves. With their slight spiciness, they refine salads or serve as a topping for bread.