WARRIGAL GREENS Tetragonia tetragonioides
Description: Also known as Botany Bay or New Zealand Spinach, T. tetragonioides forms a succulent, herbaceous, prostrate or scrambling shrub, common in coastal areas, often growing in sand near the beach. Distinctive in appearance, the triangular shaped leaves are alternate, fleshy and are covered in fine hairs. The small, solitary yellowish-green flowers appear, mainly, during the spring and summer months. The seed capsules are an ovate drupe, 5 x 15mm with a thorny crown. In the garden it makes a robust and hardy ground cover suitable for most conditions and requires little attention. It may die back but will re-seed in spring and autumn.
Uses: Warrigal Greens were among the first native plants to be recognised for its food potential by Europeans. Captain Cook fed it to his crew to prevent scurvy. It makes an excellent ‘pot herb’ or spinach substitute but like spinach, it does contain soluble oxalates which are easily removed by steaming or blanching and the water discarded.