New Zealand spinach, also known as sea-spinach,
is a non-native succulent annual with prostrate trailing stems 1' to
2' long. It is a common species along the coast and as with other members
of its family is covered with glistening bumps called papillae. The
leaves are alternate, deltoid-ovate, and smooth-margined, sometimes
± wavy. The flowers are yellow-green and solitary, and are to
be found in the leaf axils. They have 4-5 spreading sepals and no petals.
The habitat for this species is mostly sand dunes, bluffs and margins
of coastal wetlands below about 300'. The Jepson Manual says it is native
to the Southern Hemisphere, while Munz says SE Asia and Australasia. These pictures were taken in the back yard of my friend Tom Chester's
house in Fallbrook, San Diego County. It blooms from April to September.
Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Tetragonia
Pronunciation: tet-ra-GO-nee-a tet-ra-go-nee-OI-dees.
Click here for Botanical