No, they’re not orchids, but the nasturtiums growing in our back garden look so great that they deserve a post. Nasturtiums are also known as Indian Cress, Monks Cress, or Tropaeolum, which is their scientific name. California gardeners sometimes take them for granted because they’ve naturalized on the coast, and are often found growing wild. They seed and return each year, even growing from cracks in the pavement. It’s no surprise that they enjoy our climate, considering that they’re native to South America’s Andes, the home of cool-growing orchids like Masdevallias and Odontoglossums which also do well here.

Nasturtium flowerNasturtium flowersNasturtium flower

These photos show the great variety of nasturtium colors that appeared in our garden this year. Hybrids come in many shades and patterns of orange, yellow, and red, although solid orange is the standard. Most varieties grow as scrambling vines, but there are compact types as well. The blooms have a light scent.

Nasturtium leaves and flowersNasturtium flowerNasturtium flowers and leaves

Nasturtium leaves and flowers are edible, and have a peppery taste. They make colorful additions to salads, and are high in vitamin C. They can be also be made into soup and even pesto. Pickled nasturtium seeds can substitute for capers. Whether it’s for their great flavors, intense colors, or pleasant scents, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy these easy growers.

Orange Nasturtium flowers with Santa Barbara DaisiesNasturtium flowerNasturtium flower close up

Nasturtium flowerNasturtium flower close upNasturtium flower

Explore posts in the same categories: General Gardening, Photos

Subscribe to the About Orchids Blog:
AddThis Feed Button

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Comments on “Nasturtiums”

  1. LincolnN Says:

    Several years ago I ate some of the flowers in a salad, but I think the leaves were spinach. I didn’t know you can eat the leaves also or make pesto.

  2. Maxwell Says:

    Beautiful colors!

  3. Julien Baptiste Says:

    They are pretty but not as nice as orchids! Hahaha.