Lamb’s-Quarters, white goosefoot, wild spinach, fat hen, chou gras
• Legend and Lore • In the Garden

Chenopodium album


  • Native to Europe, Eastern Asia
  • Annual
  • Zone 3-10
  • 10-150 cm
  • Full sun
  • Nitrogen rich soils, wasteland
  • Blooms spring to fall

Legend and Lore

Chenopodium translates from the Latin Goose-foot for the shape of the leaf that resembles a webbed foot; or the shape of a lamb’s hind quarter. Album refers to the grayish white mealy surface of the underside of the leaf. Grown as a food crop in Central America it is considered as an invasive weed in North America. Serve like spinach and has a similar taste to cabbage, rich in vitamin A, B and C, iron and calcium; seeds can be used as cereal and for giving a pumpernickel taste to baked goods. Prevented scurvy, treated stomach aches in Canada’s First Nation, was taken as a spring tonic. The juice from the stem was applied to freckles and sunburns.  The stem was shaped into a snake figurine as a charm for snake bites, the crushed roots were used as a mild soap substitute and a hair wash, leaves stuffed into pillows or tied to clothes as a scent. Widely used during the Depression; during the Iron Age and found in Roman sites the seeds were mixed in with other grains and also found in the stomachs of the “Bog People” in Denmark.


In the Garden

Common weed in garden, waste land; leaves alternate, v- shaped, coarse margin, mealy white underneath, basal, multi branched erect stems. Flowers late spring; tiny inconspicuous and greenish in a terminal cluster, followed by abundant seeds that are harvested in the autumn.

In the Kitchen