Chenopodium album

Common Lambsquarters

Botanical description: Lambsquarters is a plant tolerant of inundation, drought, and compaction. In urban areas, its often found in tree pits, cracks in pavement, and open meadows. Early to germinate in spring, this annual plant can grow to a height of nearly five feet and produce tens of thousands of seeds at maturity. Leaves and stems are dark green but are usually coated with a waxy, white powder which lent to its colloquial name of white goosefoot. Tiny stalk-less flowers, covered in the same white powdery substance as the leaves are packed in dense clusters at the tips of the main stem and branches. Nutrient deficiency and stress is registered by the plant in its leaves and stems, which can turn a deep magenta color. The plant blooms continuously from June through November, and its seeds remain dormant in the soil for years. Chenopodium album is extensively cultivated for its culinary qualities in many parts of the world, featuring most prominently in food of Northern India. It’s highly nutritious seeds are rich in protein, vitamin A and calcium and are often dried and eaten raw, baked into bread or added to salads. The young shoots and leaves are steamed like spinach and used in soups, curries and breads.