Mashua flower: the hidden treasure of the Andes

Mashua flower: the hidden treasure of the Andes

Nature never ceases to surprise us, and it is shocking to see how plants adapt to the different climatic and soil conditions available to them. A good example of this adaptation is the mashua flower, originally from Peru.

A variety that is very unknown in Europe, but which is frequently observed in the Andes area and, in addition to its beauty, is highly appreciated for its medicinal properties, which we are also going to talk to you about in this article.

Origin and natural habitat of the mashua flower

Origin and natural habitat of the mashua flower

Tropaeolum tuberosum is a plant native to the Andes region in South America. Specifically, We can see it in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. It has been the indigenous peoples of the region who have managed to survive to this day, because they have cultivated it for centuries.

It is a plant highly appreciated for its ornamental flowers, but it also comes from a tuber, which is why it is part of the diet of Andean communities.

Physical characteristics of this plant

Physical characteristics of this plant

This plant has a series of physical characteristics that make it unique. Here are the most notable ones:

  • Size. Its flowers have a diameter of two to three centimeters, although they can be somewhat larger or smaller depending on the specific variety in question and the growing conditions to which it is exposed. They are flowers with five petals, although some varieties may have a few more.
  • Colour. The flowers of this plant are very showy, and stand out for their bright colors. We can see them in yellow, orange, red, pink and even purple. The usual thing is that the center is darker and the petals lighter, but the opposite can also happen.
  • Shape. Mashua flowers are trumpet or funnel shaped, as their petals curve back from the center of the flower. Another distinctive feature is that its edges may be slightly wavy.
  • Texture. If you touch this flower, you will see that it has a soft and velvety texture. This gives it a nice and warm appearance.
  • Growth habit. This ornamental plant can grow in the shape of climbing plant or acquire a creeping habit. Their stems are long and, therefore, they need support.

Medicinal properties of the mashua flower

Medicinal properties of the mashua flower

The indigenous communities of the Andes have been using this plant for centuries to take care of their health. Yes indeed, there are no specific scientific studies that support the properties it is said to have. But it is interesting to know them:

Antioxidant properties

The mashua flower is considered to be rich in antioxidant compounds that help fight the damage caused by free radicals in the body. That's why, could be useful in preventing chronic diseases and combat premature aging.

Anti-inflammatory properties

This flower is attributed properties to reduce inflammation and, therefore, It is believed that it could be useful in treating inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

Diuretic properties

Some studies talk about the diuretic properties of this flower, which can help increase urine production and thus help eliminate toxins. This has beneficial effects on kidney health and the urinary system in general.

antimicrobial properties

Some studies suggest that the mashua flower helps fight certain types of fungi, bacteria and viruses for its antimicrobial properties. Hence it is used in the treatment of infections and diseases caused by pathogens.

expectorant properties

One of the most common uses of this flower is for relieve congestion and facilitate the expulsion of mucus in cases of cold, flu and bronchitis.

How to care for the mashua flower?

This is a plant with a certain level of adaptation, but It is important that we give him adequate care so it can grow outside its natural habitat.

Location

In its place of origin, The mashua flower grows in sunny or partially shaded locations. Like many other species, it is advisable that it receive a minimum of six hours of direct light each day.

However, sIf you plant it in a very warm region, It is preferable that it receives shade during the central hours of the day, or it could get burned.

Planting medium

For this plant, it is ideal to have a substrate that is well aerated, has good drainage capacity and is rich in organic matter.

Humidity is a great enemy of this Andean plant, so check that the substrate drains well and that the pot has holes to expel excess water from irrigation.

Irrigation

It is important to keep the substrate moist, but not soaked. Wait until the first layer has dried before adding more water, and never do it excessively.

In winter the mashua flower goes into a state of dormancy, so you can space out watering even more and limit it once every seven or ten days.

Fertilization

During the growing season, which runs from spring to summer, you will help your plant grow stronger and healthier by applying a little fertilizer. But Don't overdo it, or you will get the foliage to develop more than the flowers.

winter protection

This is a variety susceptible to frost, so it is advisable that you protect it during the coldest months of the year. Yes you can, Move the pot to a more sheltered place.

If it is not possible to move it, cover the plant with horticultural fabric. Making sure that it is uncovered during the day so that it can receive the sun's rays directly.

Mashua flower pruning

This is a fast-growing plant, so you can prune to remove dead branches and leaves and promote healthy growth. Also, if you remove the wilted flowers, you stimulate new flowering.

Plagues and diseases

You must be especially careful with aphids and thrips. To deal with them, periodically check your plant and apply insecticide if you detect an infestation.

Being a plant sensitive to humidity, it is not strange that fungi can appear if its roots have not dried enough. Pay attention to the presence of black or brown spots that may indicate the presence of fungi, and apply an antifungal treatment if you detect them.

The mashua flower is a beautiful Andean variety that deserves to be known throughout the world. Have you ever seen her?


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