Tetragonia tetragonioides, A flowering plant belonging to the fig-marigold family (Aizoaceae).
Common Names: Warrigal Greens, also known as Botany Bay Spinach, New Zealand Spinach, Cooks Cabbage;
Origin: Native to eastern Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. It has been introduced to many parts of Africa, Europe, North America and South America and become an invasive species to those areas.
Plant: Tetragonia tetragonioides has the common name of Warrigal Greens or New Zealand spinach, and is one of the better known Australian native edible plants. It is the foliage that is eaten, and the new shoots and stems are the most tender. It is a hardier and, by some opinion, tastier version of English spinach, and will form a great ground covering plant. It is often cultivated as a leafy vegetable.
Harvest: All year round
You can harvest your Warrigal Greens all year round by picking young leaves and growing tips. Leaves will last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Propagation: Sow seeds in spring. can be separated virtually any time of the year. Cultivation is easy. It is a perennial, though it can be short-lived, so is most often grown as an annual. Will grow in sun or part shade and is a water-wise plant. They can self-seed readily. It will thrive on neglect, making it a great plant for time-poor gardeners. It is also suitable for growing in containers and would be good as a green wall plant. It can also take saline soils and salt-laden winds and is often found growing close to beaches. Grow from seed or cuttings from spring onwards. A bonus is that snails and slugs won’t eat it, unlike English spinach which can get demolished by the pests.
Plant your seeds in spring and summer, and in autumn in warmer frost-free areas. Soil temperatures of 18-35 degrees Celsius are best. Soak seeds for 1-2 hours before sowing, and then plant in seed tray around two and a half times the diameter of the seed.
Once they have established, plant them around 60cm apart in the ground, or in a medium to large pot. Your leaves will be ready to harvest in around 8 to 10 weeks. Plants will self-sow and this is a great opportunity to pot up some seedlings and give them away to friends. You can also grow plants from cuttings. Warrigal greens are long-lived in temperate areas and enjoy full sun and well-drained soil. In arid areas, you will need to provide shade. They will survive sea-spray in coastal gardens and are rarely affected by disease or pest issues
General Information: Rambling and Hardy plant with yellow flowers. Do not snack as you go with this plant, it contains Oxylates and should be blanched/cooked before eating.
It is advisable to boil Tetragonia before eating, as the leaves contain oxalic acid. Blanch in boiling water for around a minute, or more if desired, and then it can be used in various ways. Use them in Asian stir-fries as the leaf will take the heat better than spinach, in salads, soup or stew. Try it in pies or quiches, and is great in combo with feta wrapped in filo pastry and baked. It can also be used for in fruit and vegetable juices after blanching, as it is high in antioxidants.
Loved by chooks and good for caged birds. Hated by snails and slugs.
Common names: Sweet Leaf, Tropical asparagus, Chang Kok, Star gooseberry, Katuk
Origin: Tropical and Sub-Tropical Asia
Plant: Sweet leaf will grow in most soils, including heavy clay. It tolerates high rainfall as well as dry conditions, will grow in full sun or handle shade.
Harvest: All year (growth does slow in winter)
Propagation: By seeds, suckers or cuttings
Plants available in our nursery
Common names: Malabar Chestnut, Guiana, Guiana Chestnut, Guyana Chestnut, Provision tree, Saba Nut, Money Tree
Origin: Native of area between southern Mexico to Guyana and northern Brazil
Plant: Requires a frost-free location with some protection from hot, drying winds. Enjoys full-partial sun. Soils need only to be well-drained and trees enjoy consistent and regular watering during dry months.
Harvest: Feb, March, April
Propagation: By seed or cutting
A lovely evergreen tree with greenish bark that generally grows to 2-5 m with a spread of 1.5-2.5 m. Takes 4-5 years before able to harvest nuts.
Flowers are white and curl back from the base to reveal a spectacular cluster of 1-2cm cream-white stamens.
Fruit are ovoid, woody green pod which can reach 2-5cm in length and resemble a kapok or silk floss seed pod. The tightly packed nuts inside enlarge until the pod bursts and fall to the ground. These can be eaten raw or roasted. The raw nuts taste like peanuts and will keep for months in a cool, dry place. Roast nuts with oil and garlic or grind into flour for baking.
Plants available in our nursery
(photos courtesy of Flora and Fauna of tropical Asia & Lush Plants)
Rosella (Roselle, Florida Cranberry, Red Sorrel, Indian Sorrel, Mesta
Origin: Hawaii and West Indies
Plant: September – December
Harvest: February – April
A hardy, annual bush originating from Hawaii and the West Indies grows to 1-2m high. Allow 1 m spacing between plants grown in full to partial sun with well-drained soil.
Each bush can produce 1-2 kg of fruit or more, depending on soil fertility, climate conditions, day and night temperatures and how the bush is cared for. Picking off the plump, red calyces as soon as they mature, encourages regular flowering and more fruit set.
Source of Vitamins A, B, C and minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, cobalt, manganese, zinc, silicon, phosphorus and very rich in selenium and chromium.
To prepare rosellas, the red calyces need to be pulled off the seed capsule by hand. You can freeze the calyces until you have enough to make jam.