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Lamb's-quarters Chenopodium album


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credit: Christian Hummert (Ixitixel)/CCSA

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Alternate name: Pigweed

Family: Chenopodiaceae, Goosefoot view all from this family

Description On a branching plant, often with red-streaked stems, grow clustered spikes of minute, unstalked flowers. The distinguishing features of this species are the white lower leaf surfaces and the seeds lacking a honeycomb appearance.
Habit: native annual herb; erect to sprawling, usually branched.
Height: 1-6 ft or more
Leaf: alternate, variable: broadly lanceolate to ovate to diamond-shaped to triangular, stalked, coarsely and irregularly toothed, lower surface whitish, to 5 in (12.5 cm) long, to 3 in (8 cm) wide.
Flower: very small, spherical, pale green to yellow-green, without petals, stalkless, 0.05 in (1 mm) diameter; in terminal spike 4-16 in (10-40 cm) long.
Fruit: seeds smooth, black, shiny, about 0.05 inch (1 mm) diameter.

Warning Can be fatal to animals if eaten. Humans should generally avoid ingesting plants that are toxic to animals.

Flower May to October.

Habitat Open, often moist habitats: cultivated land, disturbed sites, and roadsides.

Range Throughout North America, except Arctic islands.

Discussion Also known as common lamb's quarters, white goosefoot, pigweed. Seven varieties have been proposed. Although this plant is usually considered weedy or invasive in North America and Europe, it is cultivated for food and forage in Asia and Africa.

Many of the introduced members of this family are weeds with non-showy flowers that invade lawns and gardens. Many more species of this genus are found in North America, among them Mexican Tea (C. ambrosioides), an aromatic plant that has oblong or lanceolate leaves with wavy-toothed margins; and Jerusalem-oak (C. botrys), also aromatic but with has oak-like leaves.