Plants to Pluck

Learn about some of the weedy, unwanted, and invasive plant species found in Roger's Community Garden! These species can be plucked and disposed of in our compost pile. 

New posts to be added on a bi-weekly basis.

New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides

September 10th 2023

As the name implies, Tetragonia tetragonioides is native to the earstern parts of New Zealand and Australia. The tender leaves of this plant are very much edible, described as having a mild, salty taste. As the plant ages, the older leaves develop an unsavory, bitter taste due to high concentrations of oxalates. It is a nutritious plant valued for its high presence of vitamins K, A, and C.

This species is weak to frost, but highly tolerant to salt, being able to disperse it seeds via saltwater ocean currents. Tetragonia tetragonioides has been introduced to a number of regions for its edibility and easy to grow nature, such as in Europe, Africa, and some parts of Asia. It's fast-growing nature makes it a highly invasive plant particularly in California, Chile, and the Pacific Islands, where its high resistance to warmer weather allowed it to spread into mountain, marsh, and coastal climates. 

Rather viney in appearance, Tetragonia tetragonioides will more often appear in the eucalyptus forest outside the fences at Roger's. These plants have thick stems and triangular-shaped leaves with prominent veins. The leaves have small hairs that give it a velvet-like texture, though they may appear glossy as well.

The younger leaves off the top can be harvested before the whole plant is plucked. It is recommended that the leaves be blanched and boiled for several minutes to remove the bitter taste of the oxalates.

Australian Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) 

August 27th 2023

Native to southeastern Australia, Acacia melanoxylon was originally imported to the U.S. as an urban ornamental plant. It is one of the most wide-ranging tree species in Australia and is sought after for its naturally lustrous and malleable timber for woodworking, from furniture to cabinets to even guitars and boats. 

It is a highly invasive species. The seeds of Acacia melanoxylon are extremely durable and have high germinability, and are even able to reproduce from root suckers. It is a long-lived species with a fast growth rate capable of taking over regions in Kenya, South Africa, and Tasmania. Its roots nutrient intake abilities that allow it to outcompete with native species and have been found to cause significant damage to pipes and sidewalks.

While you won't find fully-grown trees at Roger's, Acacia melanoxylon saplings can be found twirling out of the ground. They appear as vertical shoots with single long oval leaves branching out of the main stem. The leaves have prominent veins with a slight glossy finish. 

When plucking, take care to remove all shoots and roots.