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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Erect often much branched annual herb, up to 150 cm high. Stems often tinged red or pink, grey mealy hairy especially on younger parts. Leaves very variable, even on the same plant, generally rhombic-ovate to lanceolate, 1-8.5 cm long, somewhat grey-green, paler below; margin sometimes entire but mostly with up to 10 shallow teeth, the lowermost sometimes larger and lobe-like. Inflorescences large, dense heads of small rounded clusters or 'glomerules', containing minute grey-green flowers, covered in grey mealy hairs.
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Derivation of specific name

album: white
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Description

This annual plant is either introduced or native and somewhat variable in appearance. Depending on the fertility of the soil, it is 1-6' tall, branching occasionally. Large mature specimens have a bushy appearance, tapering gradually toward the apex. The stems are stout, angular, and variably colored, ranging from light blue-green to striped with purple and green. Young stems are covered with a fine mealy pubescence, while older stems become more glabrous. The alternate leaves are up to 5" long and 3" across (excluding the petioles). The older lower leaves are broadly lanceolate or ovate with irregular margins. These margins are undulate, slightly lobed, and/or dentate, and they are sometimes reddish purple along the edge. The dentate teeth are large, widely spaced, and blunt. The upper surface of the lower leaves is usually green or bluish green and glabrous, while the lower surface may be glabrous to more or less white mealy with tiny white hairs. The petioles are slender and long, often at least half the length of the leaves. The upper leaves have a similar appearance to the lower leaves, except that they are smaller, more narrow, and more white mealy from the presence of tiny white hairs, which are present on both the lower and upper surfaces. The major upper stems and some of the side stems terminate in panicles of flowering spikes. On large plants, the individual spikes of this inflorescence may be up to 8" long, but they are usually less than half this size. The inconspicuous yellowish green flowers are sessile against the flowering stalks and densely distributed. Each flower is about 1/10" across, consisting of a green calyx with 5 acute lobes, no petals, 5 stamens with yellow anthers, and a short style that is cleft into 2 or 3 parts toward its apex. The calyx is conspicuously white mealy across the outer surface, and its lobes are slightly keeled.  The blooming period can occur from mid-summer through the fall, and lasts about 1-2 months for a colony of plants. The flowers are wind-pollinated. The ovary of each flower matures into a single horizontal seed that is black, flattened, and nearly round. The lobes of the calyx curl inward and wrap around this seed, more or less obscuring it from view, except for a tiny opening at the top. This seed has a gray membranous covering that is difficult to remove. A single plant can produce 50,000 or more seeds. The root system consists of a taproot that is short and stout. This plant spreads by reseeding itself, sometimes forming sizable colonies.
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7. C. album . White Goosefoot.

Sm.Eng. Fl.ii . 13 ; Eng. Bot.1723 ; Curt.Fasc.ii . t. 15 ; Hook.Fl. Scot.84 ; γ 319.

C. viride , Linn . Sp. Pl. i.

On waste and cultivated ground, common.

  • Nathaniel John Winch (1838): Flora of Northumberland and Durham. In: Transactions of the Natural History Society of Northumberland, Durham, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Newcastle: Emerson Charnley, and Longman & Co., 16-17: 16-17, URL:http://un.availab.le
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1. C. album L.

Sp. PI. 219 (1753);Bak. & C. B. Cl. in F.T.A. 6 (1): 77 (1909) , pro parte, quoad specimen Forbes s.n. tantum (= C. album f. cymigerum (Koch) Schinz & Thell .); Hauman in F.C.B. 2: 9 (1951).

Type: presumably from Europe, Herb. Linnaeus (LINN, lecto.!)

Herb usually 10-150 cm. high, annual, normally much branched but sometimes lateral branches short and stem thus appearing subsimple, green or red-tinged, especially on stem, more or less grey-mealy especially on young parts. Leaves very variable, rhombic-ovate to lanceolate, mostly distinctly longer than broad by normally at least times (but the juvenile leaves following the cotyledons may be almost as broad as long), from about 12 X 0.3 and 2.3 X 1-3 cm. to 5-4 X 31, 6-5 X 3.8, 7 X 1.5,7 X 3.7 and 8.2 X 5-5 cm., margins entire or more commonly with up to about 10 shallow teeth each side, prominent basal lobes not commonly present, apex of leaf acute, or particularly in the lower cauline leaves subacute to rounded; upper leaves and bracts progressively smaller. Inflorescence a usually ample panicle of very numerous small or medium (2-6 mm. in diameter) densely or laxly spicately or cymosely arranged dense rounded clusters (" glomerules ") of minute grey to green flowers, latter 1-1-5 mm. in diameter. Sepals 5, papillose on margins and outside, each with a prominent green keel in upper part. Stamens 5. Pericarp somewhat persistent but easily rubbed or scraped off seed. Seeds (Fig. 1,p. 2) black, shining, 1-2-1-6 (-1.85) mm. in diameter, bluntly keeled, testa under microscope marked with faint radial furrows further apart than in 0. opulifolium , otherwise almost smooth.

Kenya. Kisumu-Londiani District: Londiani, July 1953, C. van Someren 194! & C. van Someren in E.A.H. 10420! & Lumbwa, July 1953, C. van Someren 157!

Distb. K5; widespread in the temperate and warm parts of the Northern Hemisphere; less common and possibly only an introduction further south, but found in S. America and Australia; in Africa (other than N.) recorded from the Belgian Congo, Portuguese East Africa and S. Africa Hab. A weed of cultivation, probably recently introduced

Variation. In Europe this species is excessively variable and polymorphic, but the East African specimens appear typical. Other variants may well be introduced into our area in the future.

Note. I have not given the extensive synonymy that there is for this species in Europe, as it is not relevant here.

C. album is unquestionably very closely related to C. opulifolium , which is far commoner in East Africa. C. album differs in the mature leaves being decidedly longer than wide, often thinner in texture, and in the smoother surface of the seed when seen under the microscope. In addition the inflorescence of G. album is normally greener and not so densely glaucous-mealy as in C. opulifolium , and the stem is much more commonly tinged with red. Some authors have stated that the branching of C. opulifolium is divaricate, while that of C. album is stricter; this is often a useful character, but I would ask observers to test its constancy in East Africa.

  • Brenan, J. P. M (1954): Chenopodiaceae (part: Chenopodium). Flora of Tropical East Africa 12, 2-14: 6-6, URL:http://antbase.org/ants/publications/FlEast_africa_Chenop/FlEast_africa_Chenop.pdf
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F jokisavikka.

- Similar to C. album (15) but yellowish and almost glabrous; leaves with broadly ovate blade with a pair of conspicuous lobe-like basal teeth and a few other coarse teeth. F EH Tampere 1961 and 1969 (with Russian railway transports).

  • Jonsell, B., Karlsson (2005): Chenopodiaceae - Fumariaceae (Chenopodium). Flora Nordica 2, 4-31: 29-29, URL:http://antbase.org/ants/publications/FlNordica_chenop/FlNordica_chenop.pdf
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15. Chenopodium album L. Figs 3E, H, 10B

Linnaeus, Sp. pi.: 219 (1753).

- Type: Linnaean Herbarium 313.8 (LINN) lectotype, sei. by Brenan, FI. Trop. E. Africa, Chenopodiaceae: 6 (1954) .

C. album subsp. densifoliatum A. Ludw. & Aellen (1930) .

C. album subsp. diversifolium Aellen (1928) .

C. album subsp. fallax Aellen (1928) .

C. album subsp. ovatum Aellen (1928) .

D Hvidmelet Gåsefod . F jauhosavikka. Fa hvíturgásafótur .

I hélunjóli . N meldestokk. S svinmålla .

Literature. Dvorak 1991, 1994, Uotila 1972, 1978.

Therophyte (summer-annual). (10-)30-70(-150) cm, ± farinose. Stem subangular to angular, striped with greyish to bluish green, often with purple colour especially in the leaf axils, hard, usually erect, variously branched, often in the basal part. Leaves with petioles usually shorter than the blade; blade fairly thick, dirty greyish green to bluish, in middle leaves rhombic to ovate or lanceolate, sometimes somewhat 3-lobed, (l-)2-5(-7) x (0.7-)l-2.5(~3.5) cm; base ± cuneate; apex fairly acute; margin entire or shallowly and irregularly serrate to dentate by usually fairly obtuse teeth. Bracts narrowly lanceolate; apex acute to acuminate; margin entire.

Chenopodium ficifolium subsp. ficifolium

Chenopodium suecicum

Fig . 10. Chenopodium . Habit x 0.3. - A: C. suecicum (.PeP). - B: C. album var. album (EH). ILL. MARJA KOISTINEN

Inflorescences mainly ebracteate, spike-like to panicle-like; glomerules of medium size, fairly closely set, solitary flowers fairly rare. Flowers bisexual or female. Tepals 5, connate halfway, ± farinose, ± keeled or sometimes (especially in terminal flowers) winged, with membranous margin; apex acute. Stamens 5. Stigmas 2(-3), c. 0.4 mm. Nut falling with the perianth; pericarp thin, easily detached. Seed horizontal, almost orbicular in outline (ratio length/width 1.04-1.12), 1.2-1.5 mm; edge fairly acute; seed-coat black, smooth or faintly radially striate, rarely more uneven or reticulate.

Distribution. For Norden, see the varieties.

Almost cosmopolitan, avoiding cold and tropical regions; one of the world’s most widespread weeds.

Variation. Chenopodium album in a wide sense is extremely variable, in size, branching habit, leaf shape, inflorescence habit as well as tepal and seed-coat characters. Some races probably developed together with certain cereals in relatively restricted areas; because of the extensive transport of grain these strains have become mixed and racial differences have been obscured. Much of the variation in morphology and especially in flowering time is correlated with differences in day-length. Generally, under short-day conditions C. album has more dentate leaves and more spike-like inflorescences. Many (but not all) strains of C. album have narrow photoperiodic demands. Most of these strains have their original areas outside Norden; when they grow up in Norden they may, due to the different light climate, be heavily modified and will often not set seed. Therefore, and since the variation in the native areas is largely unknown, many of these deviating plants have to be included in a widely delimited C. album . However, one variety, var. reticulatum , is sufficiently well-known to be recognized taxonomically, and C. missouriense (16), C. borbasioides , C. giganteum , C. probstii and C. purpurascens( rare casuals) are also treated separately, even though their status and delimitation are still partly unsettled.

Hybridization. Hybrids of Chenopodium album var. album are known with C. opulifolium .

Similar taxa. Chenopodium album , especially in the vegetative state or when represented by foreign provenances, is easily confused with several other species. C. missouriense (16) develops very late and has fairly narrow and coarsely serrate leaf-blades and smaller seeds. C. opulifolium (21) has wider, 3-lobed leaf-blades and 3-lobed to entire, mucronate bracts. C. pratericola (\2) is more silvery and has narrower, apiculate leaves. C. suecicum (14) has thinner leaves which are more distinctly 3-lobed and more serrate, toothed bracts, winged tepals and orbicular seeds with rounded edge and coarse ornamentation. C. striatiforme (17), C. strictum (18) and C. virgatum (rare casual) have smaller, more ovate seeds and more elliptic to narrowly truncate, regularly dentate leaves. C. berlandieri (19) and C. hircinum (20) have honeycomb-pitted seeds; the former further deviates by apiculate, fairly few-toothed leaf-blades; C. hircinum (20) as well as C. quinoa and C. acerifolium (rare casuals) have coarsely lobed, more distinctly 3-lobed leaves. - See also C. borbasioides , C. giganteum , C. probstii and C. purpurascens (rare casuals).

  • Jonsell, B., Karlsson (2005): Chenopodiaceae - Fumariaceae (Chenopodium). Flora Nordica 2, 4-31: 21-23, URL:http://antbase.org/ants/publications/FlNordica_chenop/FlNordica_chenop.pdf
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Brief

Flowering class: Dicot Habit: Herb
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Distribution

Worldwide distribution

Cosmopolitan, probably native to the Northern hemisphere.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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"
Global Distribution

Pantropical

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: Palakkad, Kottayam, Wayanad, Kozhikkode

"
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Distribution in Egypt

Nile region, oases, Mediterranean region, Egyptian desert and Sinai.

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Global Distribution

Cosmopolitan.

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W Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai (Qilian Shan), NW Sichuan, Xinjiang [Kazakhstan].
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introduced; Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.W.T., N.S., Nunavut, Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Ala., Alaska, Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo; probably mostly native in Europe.
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Distribution: Almost cosmopolitan, common in subtropical to temperate zones, more infrequent in the tropics and cooler regions.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Herbs annual, 10-30 cm tall, farinose throughout. Stem usually prostrate or obliquely spreading, much branched, sometimes branched only from base. Petiole slender, 0.4-1 cm; leaf blade gray-green, ovate to ovate-triangular, usually 0.5-1.5 × 0.4-1.2 cm, farinose on both surfaces, base broadly cuneate, margin entire or 3-lobed, apex subobtuse or acute; lateral lobes attached near base of leaf blade, apex obtuse. Glomerules forming short spikes on axillary branchlets. Perianth segments (4 or)5, obovate-linear to oblong, not keeled, abaxially densely farinose. Filaments slightly shorter than perianth; anthers broadly oblong. Style obscure; stigmas 2, filiform. Utricle depressed. Seed horizontal, rarely oblique, black, sublustrous, lenticular, sometimes depressed ovoid, 0.8-1.2 mm in diam., subsmooth or slightly pitted. Fl. and fr. Aug-Oct.
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Description

Annual, 10-150 cm, usually erect, variously branched, ± grey farinose. Stems yellowish to green, green-striated, sometimes reddish or with red spots at leaf axils. Lower and medium leaves petiolate, blade usually 2-6(-10) cm, variously trullate, rhombic-ovate to lanceolate, clearly longer than broad, base narrowly to broadly cuneate, margins irregularly serrate to entire, often somewhat 3-lobed, teeth mostly acute, often unequal in size; uppermost leaves lanceolate, usually entire. Inflorescence a variable spiciform or cymosely branched panicle, mostly terminal. Perianth segments 5, dorsally keeled. Perianth falling with fruit. Pericarp thin, ± adherent. Seeds horizontal, black, 1.1-1.5 mm in diameter, somewhat ovate, margin weakly acute; testa with faint radial striae, otherwise almost smooth.
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Description

Herbs annual, 15-150 cm tall. Stem erect, much branched, green or purple-red striate, stout, ribbed; branches oblique or spreading. Leaf blade rhombic-ovate to broadly lanceolate, 3-6 × 2.5-5 cm, 1-2 × as long as petiole, abaxially ± farinose, adaxially usually glabrous, or sometimes reddish purple vesicular hairy on young leaves, base cuneate to broadly so, margin irregularly serrate, apex subobtuse or acute. Glomerules arranged into large or small panicles or spikelike panicles on upper part of branches. Flowers bisexual. Perianth segments 5, broadly ovate to elliptic, abaxially longitudinally keeled, farinose, margin membranous, apex acute or slightly emarginate. Stamens 5; anthers exserted. Stigmas 2. Pericarp adnate to seed. Seed horizontal, black, sublustrous, lenticular, 1-1.5 mm in diam., lineate, rim margin obtuse. Fl. and fr. May-Oct.
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Description

Stems erect to sprawling, simple to much-branched, 1-30 dm, sparsely to densely farinose. Leaves nonaromatic; petiole 1-2.5 cm, shorter than blades or occasionally longer; blade ovate-lanceolate to rhombic-lanceolate or broadly oblong, 1-5.5(-12) × 0.5-3.8(-8) cm, base narrowly to broadly cuneate, margins sinuous-dentate to shallowly serrate or entire, apex acute to subobtuse, farinose abaxially. Inflorescences glomerules or occasionally 1-flowered peduncles in terminal and lateral compound spikes, 2-19 cm; glomerules subglobose, 3-4 mm diam.; bracts absent. Flowers: perianth segments 5, distinct nearly to base; lobes ovate, ca. 1 × 1.1 mm, apex obtuse, keeled, farinose, largely covering fruit at maturity; stamens 5; stigmas 2, 0.2-0.3 mm. Utricles depressed-ovoid; pericarp nonadherent, occasionally adherent, smooth to papillate. Seeds lenticular, margins round, 0.9-1.6 mm diam.; seed coat black, smooth, indistinctly granulate and/or radially grooved, or with faint reticulate-rugose ridges. 2n = 54.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Annual, 10-150 cm, usually erect, variously branched, ± grey farinose. Stems yellowish to green, green-striated, sometimes reddish or with red spots at leaf axils. Lower and medium leaves petiolate, blade usually 2-6(-10) cm, variously trullate, rhombic-ovate to lanceolate, clearly longer than broad, base narrowly to broadly cuneate, margins irregularly serrate to entire, often somewhat 3-lobed, teeth mostly acute, often unequal in size; uppermost leaves lanceolate, usually entire. Inflorescence a variable spiciform or cymosely branched panicle, mostly terminal. Perianth segments 5, dorsally keeled. Perianth falling with fruit. Pericarp thin, ± adherent. Seeds horizontal, black, 1.1-1.5 mm in diameter, somewhat ovate, margin weakly acute; testa with faint radial striae, otherwise almost smooth."
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Synonym

Chenopodium bryoniifolium Bunge var. kapelleriae Aellen ex Iljin.
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Type Information

Lectotype for Chenopodium album var. missouriense (Aellen) Bassett & Crompton
Catalog Number: US 785468
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): B. F. Bush
Year Collected: 1914
Locality: Courtney., Missouri, United States, North America
  • Lectotype: Aellen, P. 1928. Bot. Not. 1928: 206.; Bassett, I. J. & Compton, C. W. 1982. Canad. J. Bot. 60: 604.
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Ecology

Habitat

General Habitat

"Scrub jungles and degraded forests, also in the wastelands"
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Weeds of cultivation and waste ground.

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Disturbed soils in open habitats; 0-1400m.
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Valley terraces, slopes, drier grasslands; 2000-4000 m.
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Fields, gardens, ruderal places, roadsides, irrigated places, slopes, Cedrus forest. 360-4330 m.
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Habitat & Distribution

Fields, waste places, roadsides, a difficult weed to control. Throughout China [probably throughout temperate and tropical regions of the world].
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Associations

Faunal Associations

Because the flowers are wind-pollinated, they are visited by few insects. The leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of the skippers Staphylus hayhurstii (Hayhurst's Scallopwing) and Pholisora catullus (Common Sootywing), as well as the caterpillars of various moths, including Grammia virgo (Virgin Tiger Moth), Emmelina monodactyla (Plume Moth), and Amyna octo (The Eight-Spot). The seeds are an important source of food to various birds during the fall and winter months, especially sparrows (see Bird Table). The foliage is eaten by livestock and the White-Tailed Deer. Both the foliage and seeds are palatable to humans.
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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / feeds on
Orthotylus flavosparsus feeds on Chenopodium album agg.
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / sap sucker
adult of Peritrechus lundi sucks sap of seed of Chenopodium album agg.

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Plant / resting place / within
puparium of Amauromyza chenopodivora may be found in stem of Chenopodium album
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Ametastegia equiseti grazes on leaf of Chenopodium album
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / sap sucker
densely clustered Aphis fabae sucks sap of often stunted, curled shoot of Chenopodium album
Remarks: season: summer

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / spot causer
mostly epiphyllous, crowded, amber coloured then black pycnidium of Ascochyta coelomycetous anamorph of Ascochyta chenopodii causes spots on live leaf of Chenopodium album
Remarks: season: 6-8

Foodplant / spot causer
amphigenous colony of Cercospora dematiaceous anamorph of Cercospora chenopodii causes spots on live leaf of Chenopodium album

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial, gregarious pycnidium of Chaetodiplodia coelomycetous anamorph of Chaetodiplodia caulina is saprobic on dead stem of Chenopodium album

Foodplant / saprobe
perithecium of Chaetoplea calvescens is saprobic on dead, blackened stem of Chenopodium album
Remarks: season: 1-3

Foodplant / parasite
sporangium of Peronospora farinosa parasitises live Chenopodium album
Other: major host/prey

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Known predators

Chenopodium album (lambs-quarter (forb/shrub)) is prey of:
Pogonomyrmex

Based on studies in:
USA: California, Cabrillo Point (Grassland)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • L. D. Harris and L. Paur, A quantitative food web analysis of a shortgrass community, Technical Report No. 154, Grassland Biome. U.S. International Biological Program (1972), from p. 17.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering and fruiting: Throughout the year
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Flowering/Fruiting

Fruiting late summer-fall.
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Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per.: January - September.
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Life Expectancy

Annual.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Chenopodium album agg.

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Chenopodium album agg.

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Chenopodium album

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Chenopodium album

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 12
Specimens with Barcodes: 102
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T4 - Apparently Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: TNR - Not Yet Ranked

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

Full sunlight, mesic moisture levels, and a fertile loamy soil are the preferred conditions for growth and development. Partial sun and less fertile kinds of soil are also tolerated. This plant can become aggressive because it can produce abundant seedlings that cover the ground. The seeds can be remain viable in the soil for 40 years. The best method of control involves destroying the plants before they can form seeds. Range & Habitat
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Wikipedia

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.

Distribution[edit]

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.

Botany[edit]

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]

Taxonomy[edit]

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]

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.

Cultivation[edit]

Regions where cultivated[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Food[edit]

Rice and Chenopodium album leaf curry with onions and potatoes
Lambsquarters, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy180 kJ (43 kcal)
7.3 g
Dietary fiber4 g
0.8 g
4.2 g
Vitamins
Vitamin A equiv.
(73%)
580 μg
Thiamine (B1)
(14%)
0.16 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
(37%)
0.44 mg
Niacin (B3)
(8%)
1.2 mg
(2%)
0.092 mg
Vitamin B6
(21%)
0.274 mg
Folate (B9)
(8%)
30 μg
Vitamin C
(96%)
80 mg
Trace metals
Calcium
(31%)
309 mg
Iron
(9%)
1.2 mg
Magnesium
(10%)
34 mg
Manganese
(37%)
0.782 mg
Phosphorus
(10%)
72 mg
Potassium
(10%)
452 mg
Sodium
(3%)
43 mg
Zinc
(5%)
0.44 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using 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[edit]

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

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BSBI: Database of names (xls file)
  2. ^ a b Flora of NW Europe: Chenopodium album
  3. ^ a b c Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk: Chenopodium album
  4. ^ a b c d Flora of North America: Chenopodium album
  5. ^ a b "Handbook of Herbs Cultivation and Processing", By Niir Board, p. 146
  6. ^ "Chenopodium album - Bathua". Flowersofindia.net. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  7. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Chenopodium album
  8. ^ a b Flora Europaea: Chenopodium album
  9. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1753). Species Plantarum 1: 219. Facsimile.
  10. ^ a b 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". Edis.ifas.ufl.edu. 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)". Tarladalal.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  21. ^ The himalayan grain chenopods. I. Distribution and ethnobotany
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Notes

Comments

The closely related, C Asian Chenopodium pamiricum Iljin (in Shishkin, Fl. URSS 6: 873. 1936) may be expected to occur in the mountains of W China. Probably some Chinese records of C. iljinii refer to that species.
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Comments

C. album, as delimited here, is not uniform. Its morphological variation is wide probably both because of genetic and environmental factors. The delimitation and variation differ fairly much from those in Europe and the Mediterranean. However, for any taxonomic conclusions the material available in herbaria is poor both in quantity and quality. Adequate additional material, cultivation experiments to study the effect of the environment on the morphology of the taxa and a wide-ranging taxonomic revision are much needed for C. album and related taxa in the area. C. atripliciforme, C. ficifolium, C. karoi, C. novopokrovskianum and C. strictum have been often determined as C. album. Most difficult to identify are small plants with narrow or almost circular, ± entire leaves. C. giganteum D.Don, described from India and closely related to C. album, should be expected from our area. It has large, roundish leaves with regularly dentate margins and usually red vesicular hairs when young.
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Comments

Chenopodium album s.l. in its more or less traditional circumscription is a diverse aggregate of predominantly hexaploid (2n = 54) taxa. It is represented in China by many insufficiently known and poorly delimited infraspecific entities. Some of them are, however, rather distinct from European plants. The taxonomic situation is further obscured by exceptional variability and widespread hybridization in the group. Consequently, no attempt has been made here to classify the Chinese infraspecific entities of C. album s.l. The precise global distribution is uncertain because many plants reported as C. album in the literature in fact belong to other, closely related species.
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Comments

Chenopodium album, one of the worst weeds and most widespread synanthropic plants on the Earth, in its broad circumscription is also among the most polymorphic plant species. It is a loosely arranged aggregate of still insufficiently understood races. Hundreds of segregate microspecies and infraspecific entities (including nomenclatural combinations) of the C. album aggregate have been described and/or recognized by various authors. Some authors have recognized numerous segregate intergrading species, while others have developed elaborate infraspecific hierarchies with numerous subspecies, varieties, forms, and even numerous subforms (e.g., B. Jüttersonke and K. Arlt 1989), or have combined both approaches. Neither approach has brought satisfactory and uncontroversial results. 

 It is evident that most recent evolutionary processes within the group were greatly affected by anthropic factors, including extensive recent invasions, hybridization between previously geographically isolated taxa, poly-ploidy, intensive selective processes and mutagenesis in synanthropic habitats, gene drift, and so forth. All of these modern factors further complicated the taxonomic situation. Consequently, no infraspecific taxa are formally recognized in the present treatment. We attempt, however, to outline below the most common or noteworthy groups currently placed in Chenopodium album sensu lato. Although we list such groups under binomials, they should be considered here as informal groupings rather than accepted species.

It should be also kept in mind that many enigmatic and deviant forms of the Chenopodium album aggregate are in fact hybrids with other (occasionally several) species, and between infraspecific entities. C. album hybridizes with C. suecicum (producing C. ×fursajevii Aellen & Iljin), C. opulifolium (producing C. ×preissmannii Murr), C. strictum [producing C. ×pseudostriatum (Zschacke) Murr], C. ficifolium (producing C. ×jedlickae Dvorák or C. ×zahnii Murr), C. berlandieri (producing C. ×variabile Aellen), and some other species.

Chenopodium album sensu stricto: plants usually erect, ± farinose, at maturity becoming yellowish green with reddish tint; not profusely branched, branches in proximal 1/2 mostly arching, in distal part straight and upright; proximal and middle cauline leaf blades ovate to weakly 3-lobed, margins dentate, teeth usually small and densely arranged; inflorescences normally condensed, spicate; seeds variable (especially in hybrids and deviate forms) but most often 1-1.25 mm diam., seed coat smooth or nearly so.

The typical form of Chenopodium album is widespread in North America, but occurs sporadically and less commonly than the following form.

Chenopodium lanceolatum Muhlenberg ex Willdenow: plants usually robust, erect to ascending, sparsely to moderately farinose, at maturity usually dark green; profusely branched, especially in inflorescence, branches arcuate and spreading; proximal and middle cauline leaf blades elliptic or elongate to narrowly lanceolate, base cuneate to narrowly cuneate, margins entire or with few teeth (usually in proximal 1/2); inflorescences normally much-branched, loosely paniculate, often nodding; seeds variable in size.

Chenopodium lanceolatum is probably the most widespread and variable group of presumably hybridogenous forms in North America. I. J. Bassett and C. Crompton (1982) considered C. lanceolatum to be a form of C. album. It appears that the difference between these two taxa is based on habitat---C. album grows in cultivated ground and has an erect growth habit whereas C. lanceolatum grows in vacant lots, roadsides, etc., and has a more sprawling habit.

Chenopodium pedunculare Bertoloni: plants similar to C. lanceolatum, but less robust, usually with ascending branches, sparsely to moderately farinose, at maturity dark green to yellowish; profusely branched, especially in inflorescence; proximal and middle cauline leaf blades ovate to broadly lanceolate (distal ones lanceolate), base rounded to cuneate, margins normally entire or with few teeth at base; inflorescences much-branched, loosely paniculate, nodding; seeds large, ca. 1.5 mm diam., seed coat smooth to irregularly and indistinctly grooved.

Forms similar to the European ones occur in North America, but their exact distribution and taxonomic status are uncertain. The taxonomy of Chenopodium pedunculare was discussed in detail by F. Dvo ák (1984).

Chenopodium suecicum Murr, and similar taxa including C. pseudopulifolium (J. B. Scholz) Murr: plants usually erect, sparsely to moderately farinose, or becoming glabrous, at maturity usually light green to dark green; branched in middle portion of stem and in inflorescence, branches straight to arcuate; proximal and middle cauline leaf blades elliptic or elongate to narrowly lanceolate, base cuneate to narrowly cuneate, margins variously 3-lobed and/or dentate, teeth few, usually large (especially in proximal 1/2); inflorescences much-branched, loosely paniculate; seeds variable, but predominantly ca. 1 mm diam., seed coat with indistinct elongate depressions and radial grooves, occasionally nearly smooth.

Chenopodium suecicum was repeatedly reported from North America, mostly by European authors, and indeed, similar forms occur in the New World. However, their taxonomy is far from clear, and because of that they are treated here collectively, as an informal group of C. album. Some forms are transitional toward C. lanceolatum. Numerous forms of "C. syecucyn" were identified in North America as C. album sensu stricto or C. missouriense. The name C. paganum auct. was also widely misapplied.

Chenopodium jenissejense Iljin: plants usually with erect or ascending (rarely prostrate) main stem, sparsely farinose to almost glabrous, deep olive green, at maturity becoming yellowish or reddish; not profusely branched, proximal branches arcuate to almost prostrate; proximal and middle cauline leaf blades ovate-deltoid, 3-lobed to indistinctly 3-lobed, margins of lobes entire or nearly so, teeth (if present) small and obtuse; inflorescences normally compact, spicate; perianth segments spreading at maturity, not covering fruit; seeds 1-1.4 mm diam., seed coat indistinctly pitted with weak radial grooves.

Chenopodium jenissejense is a characteristic nonweedy alluvial taxon of sandy and gravelly river shores of northern Eurasia (northeastern European Russia, Siberia), related to C. acerifolium (see below). Several specimens collected in Alaska are probably referable to C. jenissejense; the available scarce material is not sufficient to confirm this.

Chenopodium acerifolium Andrzejowsky: similar in morphology to C. jenissejense, this is a characteristic, predominantly nonweedy alluvial species confined to sandy habitats of eastern Europe and western Siberia. It has been reported as introduced in Colorado (W. A. Weber and R. C. Wittmann 1992); this record was probably based on misidentification of C. berlandieri (var. sinuatum?).

Chenopodium giganteum D. Don, C. centrorubrum (Makino) Nakai, C. probstii Aellen, and other similar forms: plants usually exceptionally robust, to 20-30 (occasionally more) dm, erect, ± densely farinose (mealy pubescence of young leaves usually reddish or yellowish), at maturity becoming yellowish green, yellow to deep beet red; variously (but usually not profusely) branched; proximal and middle cauline leaf blades large (to 15 cm), ovate to distinctly 3-lobed, margins dentate to ± entire; terminal inflorescences normally condensed, spicate (in some forms lax but large), lateral inflorescences usually weakly developed; seeds variable but most often ca 1.2 mm diam. or larger, seed coat smooth or nearly so.

These taxa are probably all native to southern and southeastern Asia, where they were occasionally cultivated as ancient leaf vegetables and pseudocereals. In Japan and eastern China they were usually known as Chenopodium centrorubrum (Makino) Nakai, and in India and western China as C. giganteum D. Don. Other forms, such as C. amaranticolor Coste & Reynier, are of uncertain origin. Chenopodium probstii Aellen was described from Europe as an alien species supposedly introduced from Australia, but then its North American origin was suggested. Probably the forms discussed evolved independently in different parts of Eurasia and, consequently, represent different taxa of the C. album aggregate. Despite several painstaking efforts (e.g., P. Aellen 1929c; F. Dvo ák 1992), their taxonomy still remains confused and is in need of further experimental studies.

Chenopodium album var. stevensii Aellen: plants with thick leaves and reduced size are possibly a phenotypic response to dry northern prairie habitats. It has been reported from southern Manitoba and northern parts of the upper Midwest.

Chenopodium missouriense Aellen: a confusing taxon because of its mixed typification. It appears to be a native form of C. album that flowers in mid September regardless of when it germinated. The inflorescences are somewhat reminiscent of C. standleyanum. It occurs in the United States in the central lowlands and part of the Appalachian plateau and is designated a weed (D. T. Patterson et al. 1989).

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