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.
* 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.