Mashua in flower

How lovely is this!


What a sight for a damp and windy November afternoon on a Welsh hillside!


It was windy and the flowers kept moving about so this one’s a bit out of focus, but I was so glad to have seen these lovely flowers!


About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
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13 Responses to Mashua in flower

  1. Andy says:

    The tubers you gave me for Mashua din’t work unfortunately, the Oca did though, thank-you. I harvested them today. My Oca went to flower.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Could you tell me where you got the seeds for the Mashua please? I’ve been unable to find any and I’ve wanted to grow it for years.


  3. Vivi says:

    Are these similar to nasturtiums?
    I had a similar experience this year with some self-seeded nasturtiums that I didn’t weed out (or water) in the summer and which surprisingly took off in the autumn when they finally got more rain. I don’t visit that bed often (the neighbor on that side is a verbally abusive asshole, so I avoid going there when he’s likely to be at home), so I was really surprised to come back to a couple of huge, lushly dark green and blooming plants in late November, when I was expecting every annual in that bed to have already yellowed and died down. In fact, I could see the day-glow orange flowers from across the entire yard. Amazing. Especially since another couple of nasturtiums that I had planted out very late in a sunny balcony spot where I cleared out the sunflowers in early autumn, and those just stayed small and sick and had maybe one or two flowers, before dying off alltogether.

    Of course, part of the reason for this surprise is also climate change, I fear. Normally, we would get our first snow in mid November, before it gets warmer again until Christmas, and nasturtiums don’t survive the brief frost period. This year, even the night temperatures stayed mild until just a week ago.


  4. lovely Anni, i have nasturtiums in the tunnel still which i use for edible flower, leaf and fruit for pickles, but these seem to give bonus too. do they attract caterpillars the same way?


    • Heart says:

      Hello Rosie,
      May I ask a question?
      Please tell us more about pickling with leaf/fruit. What are you calling the ‘fruit’ (?) Do you add them to cucumbers/veggies? or stand alone? (curious) Thank you for sharing.


      • Vivi says:

        Where I come from (Germany), the green seed-pods can be used like capers, so I assume they would be pickled just like capers, i.e. on their own, to be later used as a spice in dishes like “Koenigsberger Klopse” (meatballs with a white sauce with capers). The leaves taste similar to capers as well. I never tried using them for cooking, though, since I don’t like capers.

        And having tried the flowers, I would say they’d make a decent substitute for horseradish. Don’t put them in a sweet fruit salad.


      • Hi, sorry to be so slow to spot your query! “stand alone” is my answer and I use as caper substitute. Guess you could add dill or bay, garlic or onions also . make sure they are not too woody, still green and crunchable. no reason why not to use unripe seeds as seasoning on salads also, nice and crunchy with a peppery twist


      • Heart says:

        thank you for your replies Vivi & Rosiemapplebeck. I’ll have to try that!


    • Anni Kelsey says:

      Hi Rosie
      Yes, they can attract the cabbage white caterpillars. Last year (2013) they were covered and I spent a long time taking the leaves with the little blighters off the plant. This year they had a very few and were no bother at all. I guess it is variable! However the plants are very vigorous and perhaps would not be too badly affected even in a bad year for caterpillars.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Heart says:

    How lovely! I just kept staring at them, I was mesmerized!

    They reminded me of a plant we have here on the west coast of the US called nasturtiums. OK, that peaked my interest, I looked up the difference between Nasturtiums/Mashua & look what I found:

    I’m guessing you already knew this & planted them for food. I did not know that & Thank You for sharing.


    • Anni Kelsey says:

      Yes, I knew they were in the nasturtium family, but think they are prettier than the normal garden flower. I have just read that you can eat the flowers and leaves of mashua as well as the tubers.
      Today there are even more flowers out and also on a plant that is in the hedge, climbing up a tree – quite spectacular. Plants for a Future database says they flower from June to October but I have never had them in flower before so it’s a real treat.


      • Heart says:

        First Flower? That is a Real treat. A gardeners Joy!

        re: eating the flowers/leaves of the mashua/nasturtium
        I have seen the flowers used as edible decoration on cakes/salads.
        In Mexico they stuff the large unopened flower buds with a cheese mixture & lightly saute. I wonder if one could mash the tubers with herbs & use as a stuffing?
        I saw recently that pumpkin leaves can be used as wraps, I would think that would work with Mashua as well. How Fun! Thank you for sharing your beautiful flowers (& for the education 😉


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