This plant, brought to England by Captain Cook, looks and tastes like spinach. Its leaves are covered with minute dots that reflect the sun.

Tetragonia tetragonioides (or previously T.expansa) is a leafy groundcover also known as New Zealand Spinach, Warrigal Greens, Kokihi (Māori language), Sea Spinach, Botany Bay Spinach, Tetragon and Cook’s Cabbage. It is native to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Chile and Argentina.

The species, rarely used by Māori or other indigenous people as a leaf vegetable, was first mentioned by Captain Cook. It was immediately picked, cooked, and pickled to help fight scurvy, and taken with the crew of the Endeavour. It spread when the explorer and botanist Joseph Banks took seeds back to Kew Gardens during the latter half of the 18th century. For two centuries T.tetragonioides was the only cultivated vegetable that originated from Australia and New Zealand.

The species prefer a moist environment for growth. The plant grows flat on the ground. 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 pod covered with small horns. The plant is a halophyte and grows well in saline ground.


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