Nasturtium – Empress of India
Tropaeolum majus

Zone: Not hardy; grow as an annual
Height: 12-16"

General: Empress of India Nasturtium has striking scarlet double flowers. The flowers are edible and make an excellent garnish. Nasturtiums’ leaves are dark green and look kind of like little lily pads. They have a spicy-peppery taste and are used as greens in mixed salads. The plant has a relatively compact mounding growth habit.

Culinary Uses: The flowers and leaves of the nasturtium plant are edible. They have a slightly peppery taste that is reminiscent of watercress, the flavor does get spicier when grown in hotter, sunnier weather. The flowers are less intensely flavored than the leaves. They can be used whole or chopped as a garnish on cream soups, in herb butters or cheese spreads, or on cakes and platters. The blossoms can even be stuffed with cream cheese or another mixture to make an unusual hors d'oeuvre. Use the flowers to flavor vinegar by steeping them in hot white vinegar over night. The seeds can be milled in a pepper grinder similarly to black pepper.

Medicinal Uses: The leaves and flowers provide vitamin C and are good sources of antioxidants. The seeds themselves are made up of 25% protein. The leaves and flowers can be ground into a paste and used topically for treating minor skin wounds and skin irritation due to their antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-fungal properties. It is also included in face washes and shampoos. When the leaves and flowers are consumed as a tea it is beneficial to the respiratory digestive, and urinary systems.

Ornamental Uses: Stunning crimson flowers that rise above cascading, deep green leaves. The flowers are a striking contrast that never fails to attract attention.

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*Research all plants before use. Silverleaf doesn't condone or endorse any medicinal plant use. Any one planning to use plants for medical purposes should check with a physician first.