Tropaeolum majus, Indian cress seeds
Tropaelum majus seeds
Tropaelum majus is better known as the Indian cress or the monks cress. The name monks cress is due to the fact that the flower with the long spur resembles the hats of the monks. The monks cress is a hybrid. The parental species are not known but it is quite sure that they are native to Peru and Brasilia. In the 16th century the monks cress was introduced to Europe. It was first only cultivated in monastery gardens but soon it was known and loved all over Europe. Tropaelum majus is an herbaceous plant. The leaves are roundish and the venation runs from the middle of the leaf to the leaf margin. The leaf margin is lobed. The leaves of the monk cress show the lotus effect that means that no dirt can stick to the surface of the leave. Everything is washed down immediately with the water. This avoids that bacteria and fungi grow on the leaves. The leaves can be eaten fresh or used dried as spice. They have a very spicy taste. The actinomorphic flowers have long flower stalks. They are yellow with big red dots and reach about 6 cm in diameter. The flowers are like all other parts eatable and give every salad a beautiful and extraordinary look. The monks cress got the title "Medicine plant 2013" in Germany. The plant got this title because of the glucosinolates that it contains.
Already before the plant was introduced to Europe, the natives of South America said that the monks cress is a miracle drug. One of the glucosinolates works against bacteria, viruses and fungi. The monks cress is mainly used in medicine against urinary tract infection and infections of the respiratory tract. Ongoing research deals with the healing properties of the glucosinolates. Tropaelum majus can be sown directly outside in May. Without a pretreatment the seeds can be put 3 cm deep into the substrate. The germination should occur after just about 10 days. The monks cress is quite demand less, but it is not winter hardy. Due to that fact it is mostly cultivated as an annual plant.
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