Cultivation and uses
Roses and Nasturtiums in a Vase by Henri Fantin-Latour
Tropaeolum majus cultivars are widely grown as easy annual plants, for poor, damp soil in full sun. The large seeds are easy to handle individually. As they do not tolerate heavy frost they are best sown under glass in heat, and planted out after all danger of frost has passed. Alternatively, as they are fast-growing, they may be sown in situ in May or June. Many flower colours are available, in the warm spectrum from cream through yellow, orange, red and maroon. Some have highly decorative marbling on the leaves. The groups Whirlybird Series and Alaska Series have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
Salad with flowers and leaves
All of the above-ground parts of the plants are edible. The flower has most often been consumed, making for an especially ornamental salad ingredient; it has a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of watercress, and is also used in stir fry. The flowers contain about 130 mg vitamin C per 100 grams (3.5 oz),about the same amount as is contained in parsley. Moreover, they contain up to 45 mg of lutein per 100 gr, which is the highest amount found in any edible plant. The unripe seed pods can be harvested and dropped into spiced vinegar to produce a condiment and garnish, sometimes used in place of capers.
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