Single Packet of 100 Seeds
Legend tells us that Captain Cook discovered New Zealand spinach, gathered by his sailors for its high vitamin C content as an aid in preventing scurvy. New Zealand spinach is not a spinach at all, but a groundcover that shares a similar flavor and appearance to the true spinach cultivar.
While New Zealand spinach needs a bit of extra coddling to germinate, the work pays off for gardeners who have trouble keeping their traditional spinach from bolting in hot, dry climates, and for farmers who want an interesting salad green to take to market during the less-productive summer months.
Also known as Botany Bay spinach, Cook's cabbage and tetragon, New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides) is cultivated as an annual in most climates and, relative to "common" spinach (Spinacia oleracea), is resistant to pests and diseases.
According to Utah State University Cooperative Extention, New Zealand spinach is has a high oxalate content "which can be dangerous at high concentrations." To reduce oxalate concentrations, USU recommends blanching leaves for three minutes, rinsing, and then "refreshing" the greens in cold water prior to consumption. "However, many still use it raw as a salad green."
New Zealand spinach is non-native tender annual in the northern hemisphere, but can be incorporated into ornamental landscapes as a low-growing perennial groundcover in the warmest of North American climates, or in portable containers brought indoors and kept in bright light for the cold season.
New Zealand spinach grows up to two feet tall with up to a three-foot spread, bearing medium-green foliage.