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This searchable database is provided as a cooperative effort between the
USDA-ARS U.S. Salinity Laboratory and NyPa International.
Information contained within the database has been provided by Dr. Nicholas Yensen.
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Family: AIZOACEAE

Sub Family: 

Genus: Tetragonia

Species: tetragonoides

Authority: O. Kuntz

Common Name: New Zealand Spinach (English; Australia, New Zealand), Warrigal greens (Australia), Botany Bay spinich (English; Australia)

Salt Tolerance: It is considered a halophyte. (Mudie et al 1972; Aronson et al 1988; Aronson 1989:47)

Habitat: It is common on 'Sheltered beaches, saltmarshes, arid woodlands and plains' (Low 1991)

Geographic Distribution: Cosmopolitan. Native to New Zealand and Australia. In Australia: on the east coast from Mackay, Queensland south to Tasmania, west to Melbourne, Adelaide; and on the west coast at scattered sites from Albany north to Wooramel; and inland along the Murry and Darling River drainages and in scattered points in the center of the continent.
It also occurs as a feral plant in Africa, Europe, and North America. (Low 1991)

Description: HERB, perennial, shrubby; LEAVES 2-12 cm long, triangular, bright green, thick and covered (especially underneath) with 'crystal-clear water-drop like' papillae as though covered with dew; FLOWERS yellow; FRUIT in a hard pod 10-15 mm long with small horns. (Low 1991)

Uses and Notes: New Zealand spinich was made famous by Captain Cook's when he discovered it on the coasts of New Zealand. It was cooked and eaten against scurvy. The well-known plant explorer Joseph Banks considered it a good salad green and took seeds to Kew Gardens in London. By the 1880's New Zealand spinach was promoted in seed catalogues and it spread to Europe and the North America where it was the only Austraian food crop cultivated internationally, even though it was not known to have been eaten by the Aborigines. Its international popularity, however, waned. Recently, in Australia 'Warrigal greens' are now making a come back in 'bush tucker' restaurants. It may be eaten fresh in salads or cooked and is quite tasty. (Low 1991)
It can be used as a ground cover ornamental (Aronson 1989:47; N.P. Yensen per. obs.) and has C3 photosynthesis.
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U.S. Salinity Laboratory
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