Nasturtium officinale, watercress seeds
Nasturtium officinale seeds
Nasturium officinale is also known as watercress. The name already reveals that N. officinale is a waterplant. The shoot of the watercress gets 90 cm long under optimal conditions in flat water. The shoot is hollow. The leaves are pinnate and the leaflets are roundish and fleshy. The actinomorphic flowers bear four white corolla leaves. The fruit is like in all Brassicacea a pod. The watercress is used for a long time in the kitchen and in medicine. In the kitchen one admires the hot taste of the watercress that is due to the glucosinolates that it contains. That is the reason why we call that plant cress, the word comes from the Latin cressor meaning hot. Watercress is part of many salads and also put into curd cheese to make it spicier. N. officinale is rich in vitamin C. The leaves should be harvested before the plant starts flowering. After flowering the leaves taste much hotter and are not that good any more. Dried the watercress loses its aroma. In medicine watercress is used against inflammations in the mouth and has a diuretic effect.
The cultivation of watercress is not easy. It has high demands concerning the place where it grows. Watercress needs continuously water. The water temperature should be between 10 and 12 °C. It is easy to cultivate the watercress at a pond or at an artificial stream where water is always available. Who has no pond in the garden can also cultivate it in a pot. Here it is necessary that there is always a lot of water in the pot. The water should stand 1 cm above the substrate. Furthermore the water has to be changed every week. The watercress is not winter hardy.