CLASSIC HERBS Nasturtiums Tropaeolum majus

Paul Plant

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The origins of this popular garden herb is not known although it is thought to have originated as a probable hybrid from South America. It is now cultivated in temperate, subtropical and tropical areas around the world – restricted to the cooler months in warm climate zones.

Nasturtiums are regarded as a survival food – every part is edible – stem, leaves, flowers and fruit. Unlike other reported survival foods which are generally regarded as ‘do not eat unless you are starving’, the Nasturtium is exceptionally tasty and is eagerly munched on by children and adults alike.

The flavour to all parts is peppery, similar to that of the related Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) from which it gained its common name.

A bonus PDF is available for download of the Nasturtium Capers recipe.

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Two
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Arno King


With an increasing public interest in growing food and the reduced size of many newer gardens, Yams rate as one of the more productive and space efficient crops to grow. They also suffer from fewer pests and diseases than other popular root crops (such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and taro) and require a lot less maintenance once established.

Arno looks also at:

  • History
  • Culture
  • Harvesting
  • Cooking

Commonly Grown Yams

  • Winged Yam, Greater Yam (Dioscorea alata)
  • Air or Aerial Potato (Dioscorea bulbifera)
  • Lesser Yam (Dioscorea esculenta)
  • Chinese Yam (Dioscorea polystachya syn. D. batatas)
  • Cush Cush Yam, Sweet Yam, African Yam (Dioscorea trifida)
From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Two
Yam tubers at the markets in Singapore.
Yam nearing harvesting stage with the leaves starting to die down in the cooler months.
Winged Yam, Greater Yam (Dioscorea alata).
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Claire Bickle





Do you want to grow something a little different? Then perhaps try
this little beauty – the Pepino (Solanum muricatum).

This little evergreen sprawling shrub 0.75-1.2m tall by 1-1.5m wide originates in the higher elevated Andean regions of Colombia, Peru and Ecuador in South America and is grown around the world for its sweet edible fruit.

It is a member of the potato (Solanaceae) family and is related to fruiting plants such as Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), Eggplants (Solanum melongena), Chillies (Capsicum frutescens), Capsicums (Capsicum annuum), and of course the well known vegetable, the Potato (Solanum tuberosum).

Claire looks also at:

  • The fruit
  • Cultivation
  • Propagation
  • Pests & diseases

and of course, how to:

  • Eat it
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Two
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Barbara Beerling



On a recent trip to North Queensland, I visited the Cairns Botanical Gardens. On the ground were many yellow fruit which the staff were cleaning up for disposal.

Labelled as Otaheite Apple, Ambarella and Hog Plum, I had heard of this fruit from my Balinese and Samoan friends, so I thought I would try some. The fruit had the sweet/sour taste of lemon and pineapple.

Spondias, a small genus of tropical trees belonging to the family Anacardiaceae (which includes the mango), are distributed and cultivated widely throughout the tropics. The best known is Spondias dulcis (syn. Spondias cytherea), a native to Polynesia. The latin word dulcis means ‘to become sweet’.

The name of the genus Spondias is derived from an ancient Greek word for ‘plum’, although it is not related to true plums (genus Prunus) or any other members of the family Rosaceae.

Topics covered are:

  • Propagation
  • Harvesting
  • Culinary uses

A recipe for Sri Lankan Ambarella Chutney is also available.

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Two
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