New Zealand Spinach
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New Zealand Spinach
A Introduced Photo: Anil Thakur
Common name: New Zealand Spinach
Botanical name: Tetragonia tetragonoides    Family: Aizoaceae (Ice plant family)
Synonyms: Tetragonia borealis, Tetragonia cornuta, Tetragonia japonica

New Zealand spinach is an annual to short-lived perennial creeping plant growing about 20-40 cm tall and spreading to form clumps 1 m wide or more. The plant has a trailing habit, and will form a thick carpet on the ground or climb through other vegetation and hang downwards. It can have erect growth when young. 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 capsule covered with small horns. Leaves and young shoot tips are eaten, raw or cooked. It is a delicious substitute for spinach, the very young leaves and shoots can also be eaten raw in salads. It is grown for the edible leaves, and can be used as food or an ornamental plant for ground cover. New Zealand Spinach is native to SE Asia and Australia.
Medicinal uses: The plant is used medicinally. The leaves are antiscorbutic.

Identification credit: Anil Thakur Photographed in cultivation in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

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