There are no native members of this family in the Bay Area, and so the characteristics can be capsulized in the description of one plant: the ubiquitous Tropaeolum majus - Garden Nasturtium.
Flowers: Yellow to orange to red, primarily in one color and often streaked with others; 5 petals with 2 upper and 3 lower; 5 lobed calyx with long spur; 8 stamens of varying size. Up to more than 2.5 inches across.
Blooms: All year.
Leaves: Large, nearly circular, with petiole near center and radiating light veins.
Fruit/Seeds: 3 segment fruit with single large seed in each. All year.
Location: Local lawns and gardens, disturbed areas everywhere at all elevations.
Status: Alien - Invasive.
Further Description & Comment: Vine-like, spreading along ground and climbing shrubs and trees. Plants may be annual or perennial. Nasturtiums have become naturalized along the coast, growing in the wild and in almost everyone's yard. The plant spreads by seeds, vine-like runners, and cuttings that are carried from plave to place.
They are fairly easy to rip out, having little in the way of underground roots, but any bit left behind on soil will root and generate new plants. At least they are attractive and edible; the flowers in particular being quite tasty and popular as a side garnish.
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