Nasturtiums and Nasturtia

The nasturtium.   ???????????????????????????????

Such a pretty flower.  ???????????????????????????????

Such a pretty name.  ???????????????????????????????

But what to say where there are two?  ???????????????????????????????

Good question. I have been puzzling on this for a while.  ???????????????????????????????

That ‘…ium’  sure sounds latin to me. Let’s check. Referring to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Fifth Addition, copyright 1942, the word comes from latin, based on the words nasus (nose) + torquere (twist). “Nose-twist, in allusion to it’s pungency.” So there you have it. An old Roman nose twister. Nasturtium.  ???????????????????????????????

Now I don’t know much, but I do know that the plural of a latin word ending in ‘ium’ is generally ‘ia.’ Hence, the plural of nasturtium is nasturtia.  End of discussion. ???????????????????????????????

But Wait!  I live in modern America. The good old U.S.A., where a great deal of our communal attention is engaged with big events which happen stadiums across the country. Yes, stadiums. When the Indianapolis Colts play football at home, they play in their own stadium. When they travel, they play in various other stadiums. No one says they play in other stadia. (Well, actually….. I do!  But don’t tell anyone.)  ???????????????????????????????
So really, it is OK. Call these little beauties nasturtiums. Or call them nasturtia. But please, whichever you call them, know that you have a choice.  Nasturtium09

Oh yeah  –  as for that nose-twisting, thing. I checked. I stuck my snout right down in a few. It did not twist. They do smell pungent, a little peppery. They smell rather like they taste.  ???????????????????????????????

I’m guessing they have been hybridized to smell a little better than they once did, back when Caesar Augustus recoiled at their pungency and stuck them with that strange name.  ???????????????????????????????


25 thoughts on “Nasturtiums and Nasturtia

    1. Oh yes, that is a lovely feature of the nasturtium. The leaves are so pretty and the water does ball up nicely and roll upon them. I’ve noticed the water behave similarly on elephant ear leaves as well. 🙂

    1. Thank you. Beautiful flowers. By the way, I was in downtown Chicago the other day. I thought of your blog several times, looking around the city. You capture it well.

  1. Finding the origin of scientific names is a lot of fun. Helps make sense of a lot of them. Beautiful shots of your “Nasties.” I grew one plant this year and it’s threatening to take over!

    1. It is fun, indeed. And they do get a little rowdy about this time of year, stretching out across the bottom of the garden, their funny little flowers appearing here and there. 🙂

  2. I love them, but they keep getting pulled up at the shack. But they are sneaky and come back for my enjoyment!

    1. Firefox and I were discussing that just the other day. How that garden is subject to so many tenders and the occasional radical “weeding”, but how things like the nasturtium manage to survive and thrive. Of course the climate helps with that. 🙂

    1. Thanks Amy. They are sweet and low growing, though I suppose one could train them to grow up a string or post. It must be too hot for them there. I tell ya, a little cool goes a long way. 🙂

    1. The old Roman Nose Twister trick. Spread out around the world, kinda like the Romans. Speaking of your garden, I’m betting that mild winter is ready to give up about now, eh?

    1. 🙂 Yep, they sure are pretty. And I have heard that they can be used to replace capers. Quite the edible flower. 🙂

    1. That’s funny. The are quite the reliable growers. I like to poke their funny looking seeds around the edges of the gardens so they can grace the bottom, front of various beds. And it’s fun to watch where they may wander.

  3. love the colors
    love the smells
    love the flowers
    love the gardens
    love the summers
    love the lives

  4. Thanks. There sure are. The old dictionaries say they come in yellow, orange and red. We seem to be holding fast with that. Quite vibrantly so, I’m glad to say. 🙂

  5. Thanks. Glad to see someone stand for the modern pronunciation. 🙂 You sum them up nicely. Free ranging ways, indeed. They are having a ball about now, growing wild until the first frost. 🙂

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