Tropaeolaceae

Tropaeolaceae is a small family with 3 genera and 92 species with a range from Mexico to temperate South America. The climate ranges from temperate to tropical. The three genera are Magallana, Trophaeastrum, Tropaeolum. Of the three genera, Tropaeolum is the most commonly known with important ornamental values, especially in milder climates. Overall, flowers within the three species somewhat resemble each other in having a hat or helmet appearance. Flowers are specifically insect pollinated and have evolved strategic stamen and anther positions to facilitate such events. Plants are hermaphroditic and does not need to be out-crossed. The leaves can vary from entire to very dissected and almost needle-like, with petioles that are often twining. Leaves and flowers sometimes contain mustard oils which gives them a bite when eaten (as in Tropaeolum majus = common nasturtium). Plants are mostly herbaceous annuals or perennials.


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