A lone red nasturtium
Glows like a star
This Christmas day
On top of the wild
This native of the South American Andes Mountains is a wonderful addition to most any garden. It acts as a trap plant for aphids and can also be eaten. But be careful, if you live on Hawaii, Lord Howe Island or on New Zealand this pretty little vine is considered invasive!
The leaves and flowers of this plant have a peppery taste and can be added to a salad. The seeds can be used as a caper substitute. These flowers and leaves are a rich source of Vitamin C, being 130 mg per 100 g edible flowers.
In the Andes Nasturtium has an extensive history of being used as a disinfectant and as a wound healer. It has also been used as an expectorant to heal chest conditions, such as to clear nasal and bronchial catarrh. Externally it has also been used in the treatment of baldness, minor injuries to the skin and for skin eruptions.
If you were to make an infusion of the leaves, and then add soap flakes, you will have a very effective insecticide!