Tetragonia tetragonioides is not native to California. The origin of this plant isn’t exactly known. It has been debated that the plant came from South America, but it has generally been accepted that the plant originates from East Asia, New Zealand, and Australia (1). It is considered an invasive plant by the California Invasive Plant Council (2). This is a mat-forming plant that hugs the ground and is drought and heat tolerant. Even though it’s commonly named New Zealand Spinach, it isn’t actually a true spinach. It can be eaten, specifically the branch tips and leaves (3). Its flavor has been stated as similar to the cultivated spinach (4). This plant has small, yellow flowers and produces fruit that dry up and split open (5).
Native: Not Native to California
Flowering Period: April - September
Nature Serve Global Ranking: GNR
Nature Serve State Ranking: SNA
(1) “Tetragonia Tetragonioides (New Zealand Spinach).” CABI: Invasive Species Compendium. Accessed October 10, 2020. https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/52942#top-page.
(2) California Invasive Plant Council. (2011, May 18). Plant Assessment Form: Tetragonia tetragonioides. https://www.cal-ipc.org/plants/paf/tetragonia-tetragonioides-plant-asses...
(3) “Tetragonia Tetragonioides .” Plant Finder. Accessed October 10, 2020. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.as...
(4) Javed, S. M., & Urbatsch, L. E. (2014). Tetragonia Tetragonioides (Aizoaceae) Discovered In Louisiana, U.S.A. [Abstract]. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 8(2), 661-62.
(5) “Tetragonia Tetragonioides (Pallas) Kuntze.” Native Plant Trust: Go Botany. Accessed October 10, 2020. https://gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/tetragonia/tetragonioides/.