This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Tropaeolum Minus. or Indian-Cress.
Cal. 1-phyllus, calcaratus. Petala 5, inaequalia. Bacca tres, siccae.
TROPaeOLUM minus foliis peltatis repandis, petalis acuminato-setaceis. Lin. Syst. Vegetab. p. 357.
Indian-Cresses, or yellow Larke's-heeles. Park. Parad. p. 280.
This species of Tropaeolum (which like the majus already figured in this work, is a native of Peru) has long been an inhabitant of our gardens; it was the only species we had in the time of Parkinson, by whom it is figured and described; it appears indeed to have been a great favourite with that intelligent author, for he says this plant "is of so great beauty and sweetnesse withall, that my garden of delight cannot bee unfurnished of it, and again the whole flower hath a fine small sent, very pleasing, which being placed in the middle of some Carnations or Gilloflowers (for they are in flower at the same time) make a delicate Tussimusie, as they call it, or Nosegay, both for sight and sent."
As the Passiflora caerulea, from its superior beauty and hardiness, has in a great degree supplanted the incarnata, so has the Tropaeolum majus the minus; we have been informed indeed that it was entirely lost to our gardens till lately, when it was reintroduced by Dr. J. E. Smith, who by distributing it to his friends, and the Nurserymen near London, has again rendered it tolerably plentiful.
Like the majus it is an annual, though by artificial heat it may be kept in a pot through the winter, as usually is the variety of it with double flowers; but as it will grow readily in the open air, in warm sheltered situations, it should be raised on a hot-bed, like other tender annuals, if we wish to have it flower early in the summer, continue long in blossom, and produce perfect seeds.