The bold orange flowers atop this salad are no shrinking violets, nor are they calm camomile. They are the bold and peppery nasturtium, and their name means “nose twister” from the Latin nasum (nose), and torquere (to twist). If you've ever bitten into a nasturtium flower or its leaves, you will certainly recall their peppery bite.
But there is another twist! Did you know that their botanical name, Tropaeolum majus, is a reference to an ancient Roman battle custom? After emerging victorious, the Roman army would set up a pole called a tropaeum and would hang the armor and weapons of the defeated army upon it. This is also where the word trophy comes from. Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, who chose the genus name, picked it because the flowers didn’t make him imagine delicate summery days, but instead he pictured them as blood-stained helmets on a battlefield. Strange to think of them that way, right?
That is one twisted flower story.