Herbs & Plants

Tetragonia tetragonioides

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Botanical Name : Tetragonia tetragonioides  (or previously Tetragonia expansa)
Family: Aizoaceae /Picoideae
Genus: Tetragonia
Species: T. tetragonioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Tetragonia expansa , Tetragonia tetragonoides (Pall.) Kuntze APNI* ,Demidovia tetragonoides Pall. APNI*

Common NamesNew Zealand spinach, Warrigal greens, Warrigal cabbage, , sea spinach, Botany Bay spinach, tetragon and Cook’s cabbage.

Habitat : Tetragonia tetragonioides is native to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Chile and Argentina.It grows on coastal sand dunes and stony beaches on North South and Stewart Islands of New Zealand. Sheltered beaches, salt marshes and arid plains in Australia.

New Zealand Spinach is a half-hardy evergreen perennial(annual in some places) plant growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It has a trailing habit, and will form a thick carpet on the ground or climb though other vegetation and hang downwards. The leaves of the plant are 3–15 cm long, triangular in shape, and bright green. The leaves are thick, and covered with tiny papillae that look like waterdrops on the top and bottom of the leaves. The flowers of the plant are yellow, and the fruit is a small, hard pod covered with small horns. The plant is a halophyte and grows well in saline ground.

Tetragonia tetragonioides  is easily grown in the garden, it prefers a light soil in a sunny position and thrives in dry soils. It grows best in a good rich soil. Once established, the plants tolerate drought. Plants are very tolerant of hot, dry conditions but cannot tolerate frost. Although very drought tolerant, the plants produce a better quality crop if they are given some water in dry weather. New Zealand spinach is occasionally cultivated in gardens for its edible leaves, it is an excellent spinach substitute for hot dry weather conditions. A perennial plant in its native habitat, but it is usually killed by the cold in British winters and so is grown as an annual. In the Tropics it is occasionally cultivated in the cool season as a spinach.

Seed – sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frost. Seed can also be sown in situ in late spring, though this will not generally make such good plants . The seed can be slow to germinate, soaking in warm water for 24 hours prior to sowing may help .

Edible Uses:

Leaves – raw or cooked. A spinach substitute, the shoot tips are harvested when about 8cm long, this encourages plenty of side growth with lots more shoots to harvest. A delicious substitute for spinach, the very young leaves and shoots can also be eaten raw in salads. The young leaves are best, older leaves developing an acrid taste.

Medicinal Uses:
Captain James Cook found the plant growing in New Zealand and fed it to his crew as a fresh vegetable to help prevent scurvy.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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