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Chenopodium album Chenopodium album

Common Name(s):

  • Bacon Weed
  • Fat Hen
  • Goosefoot
  • Lambsquarters
  • Pigweed
Description

Lambsquarters is an annual wild edible. It was once thought that striate was native to Europe. However, recent archaeological studies show that the seeds were stored and used by the American Blackfoot Indians during the sixteenth century before European trade had come to the New World. 

The genus name, Chenopodium, derives from the goose-foot shape of the leaf of many species, and the species name, album, refers to the mealy white sheen of the leaves. 

This plant is highly adaptable to different environmental conditions though it does not have the aggressive nature of many weeds. When trying to identify them as seedlings, the stem below the seed leaves, or first leaves, is smooth and can be light green, tan or maroon. They are easiest to manage by hand-pulling when they are small and before they have flowered and set seed. Tilling mature plants disrupts the roots and mowing the tops can reduce seed production. 

Cultivars:
Tags:
#annual#summer#edible#weed#edible weed#gray leaves#silver leaves#white leaves
Cultivars:
Tags:
#annual#summer#edible#weed#edible weed#gray leaves#silver leaves#white leaves
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Chenopodium
    Species:
    album
    Family:
    Chenopodiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    USA
    Edibility:
    More than likely, the seeds of common lambsquarters were harvested and stored for human consumption in prehistoric times. Many members of the goosefoot family are edible vegetables, and their seeds may be dried and ground to make flour. This plant has an earthy, mineral-rich taste; some say it is close to chard. If you enjoy leafy greens such as kale, collards, and spinach then you will probably like lambsquarter. Leaves, shoots, seeds, flowers. Saponins in the seeds are potentially toxic and should not be consumed in excess. Lambsquarters contain some oxalic acid therefore when eating this raw, small quantities are recommended. Cooking removes this acid. Lambsquarter can be eaten in salads or added to smoothies and juices. Steaming this edible weed is one method of cooking, or can be added to soups, sautés and much more. Drying this wild edible is one way to add this nutritious plant to your meals throughout the winter or you can blanch and freeze the leaves.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Multistemmed
    Pyramidal
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full Sun (Direct sunlight 8+ hours a day)
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    Seeds are usually round with notched edges. The seed surface is slightly roughened or glossy. Seed color varies from black to brown to brownish green. One lamb’s quarter plant can produce up to 100,000 seeds.
  • Flower:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Spike
    Flower Description:
    Mature plants are pyramidal, have many branches, and are crowded with clustered spikes of dull green flowers. Flower clusters are located at the ends of stems and branches or in the crooks (axils) of the upper leaves. Tiny green flowers form in spikes at the end end of stems and branches or in the axils of upper leaves.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Pink
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Hairy
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are green (sometimes has tints of pink) with a white mealy coating produced by tiny hairs on the leaves. The hairs are more dense on the underside of the leaves making it appear whiter. As the leaves mature the white hairs become more sparse. Leaves are alternate and lance or goosefoot shaped and can reach up to 10 cm long. The leaf margins are mostly smooth with some teeth along the edge.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The stem below the first leaves is striated, smooth and can be light green, tan or maroon.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Edible
    Problems:
    Weedy