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.