Also called bower spinach, with yellow flowers and bright-red berries (used for dye), this spinach is a beauty. It is high in antioxidants, like warrigal greens. Use it like English spinach, best blanched first.
(Tetragonia implexicoma) is commonly known as bower spinach, and is a species of plant in the Aizoaceae, or ice-plant family. Barilla Bower Spinach Fresh is native to Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania common along the coastline on cliffs, sand dunes and in foreshore scrub but occasionally extending inland along tidal or brackish waterways.
◎ Common Name: Barilla Spinach, Bower Spinach
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Tetragonia implexicoma
◎ Comparison: English Spinach
◎ Seasonality: All year fresh
◎ Region: Southern coastal
◎ Taste Profile: The broad green leaves have a lovely delicate salty flavour of the sea and a crisp texture. The juicy red berries have a deliciously sweet and salty flavour.
◎ Types: Spinach varieties can be found in three major types – savoy, semi-savoy, and flat-leafed. Each of these varieties is further categorised into many other types that grow best in varying temperature conditions and seasons.
- Barilla Spinach contains high levels of vitamin C.
- It is an important plant food for Aboriginal people, with edible young shoots and leaves.
Boasting almost no fat, Barilla Spinach rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B, C, magnesium, potassium & calcium.
Traditional Aboriginal Food and Uses
Used as a valuable leaf vegetable by indigenous Australians and by early European sailors and settlers as a source of vitamin C to ward off scurvy. The berries were used as a source of red dye for ceremonial purposes.
Western & Modern
Use the fresh leaves and stems as a salty, crunchy addition to salads or steam or boil them as you would any leafy greens. If you boil them, a change of water may be necessary due to their high salt content. The seeds may be eaten too but are better before they go hard.
The berries may be eaten too but are better before they go hard. They can be used to make a red dye too. Some say that they are better than Warrigal Greens because of their lower level of Oxalic acid.
MedicinalBarilla Spinach is a healthy, low calorie way to include essential vitamins and minerals into your diet for better living. There are no know medicinal uses associated with this plant.
Note: The term 'Bush Tucker' and 'Bush Food' are not Warndu's preferred terms for Australian Native Ingredients or Australian Botanicals.
Images: © Luisa Brimble