Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Warrigal Greens

Lately I have been walking around the cliffs between Coogee and Clovelly . I noticed a common ground cover that  I couldn’t identify at first. It’s Tetragonia tetragoniodes, common name Warrigal Greens. It grows in moist areas close to the coast and estuaries. warrigal The leaves of this plant are edible and were eaten by Aboriginals and early settlers. It needs to be boiled before eating to reduce the oxalate, which is poisonous.

“ The leaves are edible although bitter unless cooked. Captain Cook served them boiled daily to his crew and Joseph Banks thought they “eat as well, or very nearly as well, as Spinach”. Nowadays they are mainly enjoyed by native rats and other herbivores “– from Field Guide to The Native Plants of Sydney by Les Robinson

Joseph Banks                                                                                 Joseph Banks – Botanist and Explorer

What a fall from grace this vegetable has had! It sustained the early settlers and is now mostly enjoyed by rats.

warrigal greens 002

2 comments:

Noelle said...

I think plant history is so interesting. Maybe your post will inspire a revival of people using this plant :^)

gippslandgardener said...

Oh dear, I don't think that Banks was really selling the experience when he said that that they ate 'nearly as well as spinach'!