Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Nasturtium - Tropaeolum majus (Νεροκάρδαμο)

Two scents overpower you in the late afternoon in springtime Hania: orange blossom, and nasturtium.

Nasturtium plants run riot wherever they sprout, overtaking the ground instantly with their large leaves and crawling, climbing vines.


Despite its scruffy nature, a field full of nasturtium flowers is a very uplifting sight. Although they can be a nuisance in the garden, nastrutiums make a very beautiful addition when trimmed back and trained in order to prevent them from spreading too quickly. What's more, every part of the plant is edible. The flowers are used in salads and the seed pods make a substitute caper. Although not commonly used in Greek cuisine, the leaves can be used in the same way as mallow, stuffed with herbed rice, in the manner of Greek dolmadakia.

Nasturtium and mallow flowers, growing at the base of  the dry trunk of a palm tree which died after a weevil attack. 
I like them best in their wild form, especially when they blend in with their surroundings.

And if ever in doubt of nature's perfection, just take a look at the nasturtium's leaves. All the same, and not one alike.

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