Please forgive the slight inconvenience in creating a new account. Due to juvenile delinquents spamming garbage to the site, we had to install a "Captcha", which can differentiate a spam bot from a human. Once you open your account, confirm it by returning the email, and identifying yourself, we will give you edit privileges. Just request them by leaving a message at click here.

Chenopodium album

From English WikiChiro
Jump to: navigation, search

Script error

Script error
File:Melganzenvoet bloeiwijze Chenopodium album.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Chenopodiaceae
Genus: Chenopodium
Species: C. album
Binomial name
Chenopodium album

Chenopodium album is a fast-growing weedy annual plant in the genus Chenopodium.

Though cultivated in some regions, the plant is elsewhere considered a weed. Common names include lamb's quarters, melde, goosefoot and fat-hen, though the latter two are also applied to other species of the genus Chenopodium, for which reason it is often distinguished as white goosefoot.[1][2][3][4] It is sometimes also called pigweed However, Pigweed is also a name for a few weeds in the family: Amaranthaceae, [4] The Name pigweed is used for Amaranthus albus, Redroot pigweed and others.

Chenopodium album is extensively cultivated and consumed in Northern India as a food crop,[5] and in English texts it may be called by its Hindi name bathua or bathuwa (बथुआ) (Marathi:चाकवत).[6] It is called Pappukura in Telugu, Paruppukkirai in Tamil, Kaduoma in Kannada, Vastuccira in Malayalam, and Chakvit in Konkani.


Its native range is obscure due to extensive cultivation,[7] but includes most of Europe,[8] from where Linnaeus described the species in 1753.[9] Plants native in eastern Asia are included under C. album, but often differ from European specimens.[10] It is widely introduced elsewhere, e.g. Africa,[11] Australasia,[12] North America,[4] and Oceania,[3] and now occurs almost everywhere in soils rich in nitrogen, especially on wasteland.


It tends to grow upright at first, reaching heights of 10–150 cm (rarely to 3 m), but typically becomes recumbent after flowering (due to the weight of the foliage and seeds) unless supported by other plants. The leaves are alternate and can be varied in appearance. The first leaves, near the base of the plant, are toothed and roughly diamond-shaped, 3–7 cm long and 3–6 cm broad. The leaves on the upper part of the flowering stems are entire and lanceolate-rhomboid, 1–5 cm long and 0.4–2 cm broad; they are waxy-coated, unwettable and mealy in appearance, with a whitish coat on the underside. The small flowers are radially symmetrical and grow in small cymes on a dense branched inflorescence 10–40 cm long.[2][3][4][10]


Chenopodium album has a very complex taxonomy and has been divided in numerous microspecies, subspecies and varieties, but it is difficult to differentiate between them. The following infraspecific taxa are accepted by the Flora Europaea:[8]

  • Chenopodium album subsp. album
  • Chenopodium album subsp. striatum (Krašan) Murr
  • Chenopodium album var. reticulatum (Aellen) Uotila

Published names and synonyms include C. album var. microphyllum, C. album var. stevensii, C. acerifolium, C. centrorubrum, C. giganteum, C. jenissejense, C. lanceolatum, C. pedunculare and C. probstii.

It also hybridises readily with several other Chenopodium species, including C. berlandieri, C. ficifolium, C. opulifolium, C. strictum and C. suecicum.


Regions where cultivated

The species are cultivated as a grain or vegetable crop (such as in lieu of spinach), as well as animal feed in Asia[5] and Africa, whereas in Europe and North America, it is commonly regarded as a weed in places such as potato fields.[13]

Potential impact on conventional crops

It is one of the more robust and competitive weeds, capable of producing crop losses of up to 13% in corn, 25% in soybeans, and 48% in sugar beets at an average plant distribution.[citation needed] It may be controlled by dark tillage, rotary hoeing, or flaming when the plants are small. Crop rotation of small grains will suppress an infestation. It is easily controlled with a number of pre-emergence herbicides.[14] Its pollen may contribute to hay fever-like allergies. [15]

Beneficial use in ecological pest control

Chenopodium album is vulnerable to leaf miners, making it a useful trap crop as a companion plant. Growing near other plants, it attracts leaf miners which might otherwise have attacked the crop to be protected. It is a host plant for the beet leafhopper, an insect which transmits curly top virus to beet crops.

Uses and consumption


Lambsquarters, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy Template:Convert/kJ
Carbohydrates 7.3 g
- Dietary fiber 4 g
Fat 0.8 g
Protein 4.2 g
Vitamin A equiv. 580 μg (64%)
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.16 mg (12%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.44 mg (29%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 1.2 mg (8%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.092 mg (2%)
Vitamin B6 0.274 mg (21%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 30 μg (8%)
Vitamin C 80 mg (133%)
Calcium 309 mg (31%)
Iron 1.2 mg (10%)
Magnesium 34 mg (9%)
Manganese 0.782 mg (39%)
Phosphorus 72 mg (10%)
Potassium 452 mg (10%)
Sodium 43 mg (2%)
Zinc 0.44 mg (4%)
Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

The leaves and young shoots may be eaten as a leaf vegetable, either steamed in its entirety, or cooked like spinach, but should be eaten in moderation due to high levels of oxalic acid.[16] Each plant produces tens of thousands of black seeds. These are high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Quinoa, a closely related species, is grown specifically for its seeds.[17] The Zuni people cook the young plants' greens.[18]

Archaeologists analysing carbonized plant remains found in storage pits and ovens at Iron Age, Viking Age, and Roman sites in Europe have found its seeds mixed with conventional grains and even inside the stomachs of Danish bog bodies.[19]

In India, the plant is popularly called bathua and found abundantly in the winter season.[20] The leaves and young shoots of this plant are used in dishes such as soups, curries, and paratha-stuffed breads, especially popular in Punjab. The seeds or grains are used in phambra or laafi, gruel-type dishes in Himachal Pradesh, and in mildly alcoholic fermented beverages such as soora and ghanti.[21]

Animal feed

As some of the common names suggest, it is also used as feed (both the leaves and the seeds) for chickens and other poultry.



  1. BSBI: Database of names (xls file)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Flora of NW Europe: Chenopodium album
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk: Chenopodium album
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Flora of North America: Chenopodium album
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Handbook of Herbs Cultivation and Processing", By Niir Board, p. 146
  6. "Chenopodium album - Bathua". Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  7. Germplasm Resources Information Network: Chenopodium album
  8. 8.0 8.1 Flora Europaea: Chenopodium album
  9. Linnaeus, C. (1753). Species Plantarum 1: 219. Facsimile.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Flora of China: Chenopodium album
  11. African Flowering Plants Database: Chenopodium album
  12. Australian Plant Name Index: Chenopodium album
  13. Grubben, G. J. H., & Denton, O. A. (2004). Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
  14. "University of Florida IAS extension". Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  15. Amini, A.; Sankian, M.; Assarehzedegan, M.A,; Vahedi, F,; Varasteh, A. (April 2011). "Chenopodium album pollen profilin (Che a 2): homology modeling and evaluation of cross-reactivity with allergenic profilins based on predicted potential IgE epitopes and IgE reactivity analysis". Molecular Biology Reports 38 (4): 2578–87. doi:10.1007/s11033-010-0398-2. PMID 21086179. 
  16. Johnson, Derek; Kershaw, Linda; MacKinnon, Andy; Pojar, Jim (1995). Plants of the Western Boreal Forest and Aspen Parkland. Lone Pine Publishing. ISBN 1-55105-058-7 
  17. PROTAbase: Chenopodium album
  18. Castetter, Edward F. 1935 Ethnobiological Studies in the American Southwest I. Uncultivated Native Plants Used as Sources of Food. University of New Mexico Bulletin 4(1):1-44 (p. 16)
  19. Miles, David (1978). An introduction to Archaeology. Great Britain: Ward Lock. p. 99. ISBN 0-7063-5725-6. 
  20. "Bathua (cheel Bhaji) Glossary | Recipes with Bathua (cheel Bhaji)". Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  21. The himalayan grain chenopods. I. Distribution and ethnobotany

External links