Tetragonia

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Tetragonia
Tetragonia tetragonioides habit.jpg
Tetragonia tetragonoides
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Aizoaceae
Genus: Tetragonia
L.
Species

About 85 species, including:

Tetragonia is a genus of about 85 species[1] of flowering plants in the family Aizoaceae, native to temperate and subtropical regions mostly of the Southern Hemisphere, in New Zealand, Australia, southern Africa and South America.

Description[edit]

Plants of the Tetragonia genus are herbs or small shrubs. Leaves are alternate and succulent,[2] with flowers typically yellow and small in size. Flowers can be axillary, solitary or fasciculate, greenish or yellowish in colour and mostly bisexual.[1] Fruit are initially succulent but become dry and woody with age. The genus name comes from "tetragonus", meaning "four-angled" and referring to the shape of the plants' fruits.[3]

Distribution[edit]

About 40 species of Tetragonia are found in southern Africa.[1] The species is spread throughout most of southern Australia.[4]

Classification[edit]

The genus was first formally described by the botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753 in the work Species Plantarum.[4] Synonyms for the genus include Tetragonocarpos Mill., Demidovia Pall., and Tetragonella Miq.

Human use and cultivation[edit]

The best known species of Tetragonia is the leafy vegetable food crop, Tetragonia tetragonioides ("New Zealand spinach"). New Zealand spinach is widely cultivated as a summer leafy vegetable.

Some of the other species are also eaten locally, such as Tetragonia decumbens ("Dune spinach") which is a local delicacy in its native southern Africa.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "2403.000 Tetragonia L.". Flora of Zimbabwe: Cultivated plants. 2002. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  2. ^ "Tetragonia". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife. 
  3. ^ Beadle, N.C.W., Part II, Students Flora of North Eastern New South Wales, University of New England, 1972, ISBN 0-85834-040-2.
  4. ^ a b "Tetragonia L.". Atlas of Living Australia. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  5. ^ http://www.plantzafrica.com/planttuv/tetragondec.htm