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Plantgasm - I love plants too much. By Derek Powazek.

Nasty, Nice Nasturtium

Speaking of plants some consider to be weeds, Nasturtium (which is actually Tropaeolum*) is a South American native that you can find growing everywhere in San Francisco. I’ve seen Nasturtium vines engulf whole bushes, spread over an entire park, and possibly abduct children. I pulled this guy out of a pot yesterday, where he sprung up almost overnight. You can still see the seed that started it all.


That’s the neighbor’s dog, Brutus, making a cameo in the background.

So Nasturtiums are nasty because they can be quite aggressive. But they’re also nice! Their leaves can get as large as dinner plates. In a dense thicket, they look kind of like lily pads in midair. The whole plant is edible, too. Their flowers have a crunchy pepper quality that makes them great salad toppers.

Personally, I love Nasturtium. It’s not their fault they thrive in their new environment. I came from another place, too. So I took the one in the photo above and planted him in his own pot. Everybody needs a place to call home.

corona heights north slope trail

* The plants I’ve always called “Nasturtiums” are actually the genus Tropaeolum. There is a genus called Nasturtium, but it doesn’t include them. So Nasturtiums aren’t Nasturtiums. See, this is why nobody knows plant names.

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2 Responses

Wait a minute..What? lol

Derek, I’m going to call you “The Plant Whisperer” because you have such a great way with plants!! ;)

Posted by Roberta on 10 August 2011 @ 12am

Nasturtiums never quite take off like that here in florida… They start out like wilfire and then abruptly fizzle out… :(

Posted by Steve Asbell on 10 August 2011 @ 4am


Plantgasm is where Derek Powazek chronicles his botanical antics and misadventures. More.