I have been growing tetragonia for a few years now - lush green NZ spinach that resists drought and - unless I am too tidy - self seeds everywhere. This year I got a bag of pine needles from South Brighton for my chook run and a seedling tetragonia popped up; red stemmed and far more 'weedy' than the commercial stuff but tetragonia nonetheless. I am planning to save the seeds from it just for interest - but how readily will it cross with the normal stuff? The plants are only a metre apart. A hybrid might be interesting if it keeps the red stem. Any advice?

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  • HI Margaret, in my copy of 'seed to seed' by suzanne ashworth she says that ' there are a few distinct varieties in the world, one with smooth leaves, one smooth on top and hairy underneath and a third with very small glabrous leaves (whatever that means!) the flowers are perfect and self-pollinating and insect crossing might be possible if two varieties  are near one another so caging or isolation would ensure seed purity.' Red stems could possibly be a sign of nutrient deficiency so perhaps wait until it has grown a bit before you know if it is a trait of the plant. I noticed some growing at my local beach the other day, its in sand so has small compact growth.

    • Like Kali, I found none of my books mentioned red stemmed tetragonia, but a bit of random browsing on the internet seems to have solved the mystery. What I have is Tetragonia implexicoma, not T. tetragonioides; slower growing, woodier and not as succulent. As a vegetable, not as good. Ah well, you live and learn

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