Life awaits beyond the beaten path
Amaranthaceae – Amaranth family
A branching herbaceous annual that usually grows from 3' - 5' tall. It has slender grooved stems which are often tinged with red, particularly where the leaves meet the stem.
Usually grows from 3' - 5' tall
The leaves are alternate and can vary in appearance. Those toward the base of the plant are toothed and roughly diamond shaped. They resemble the foot of a goose, giving the plant one of its common names. They are 1 1/4 - 2 3/4 in long and 1 1/4 - 2 1/2 in wide. The leaves on the upper part of the flowering stem are lanceolate. They are 1/2 - 2 in long and 1/4 - 3/4 in wide. They are waxy coated and mealy in appearance. Leaves are whitish coated on the underside.
It has slender grooved stems which are often tinged with red, particularly where the leaves meet the stem.
Late Summer to Early Autumn
The small flowers are radially symmetrical and grow in small cymes on a dense branched inflorescence 4-16 in long
In Autumn to early Winter each plant produces thousands of tiny black seeds.
The edible Chenopodium species all have virtually no odor. This easily differentiates them from their non-edible relatives which smell resinous and quite strong.
Disturbed soils, overgrown lots, backyards, gardens, urban parks, along roadsides.
Young Shoots, Leaves, Seeds
Wild Food Uses:
This is one of my favorite edible plant. I believe it to be one of the best tasting wild plants there is. the leaves are high in vitamins and minerals, while the seeds are quite high in protein.
Use tender young shoots under 10" tall when they first appear in mid spring. Leaves can be added to salads, or used as a trail nibble. They can also be sautéed or steamed and eaten as a cooked vegetable. The taste is reminiscent of spinach. The leaves can continue to be used until the plant is killed in the autumn. The tender leaves at the top of the plant taste the best. The leaves can also be dried and stored for use later in the year. They can be reconstituted or powdered and used to flavor soups and stews, or just about anything else you can think of.
The seeds are high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. They are similar to, and can be used in the same method as the widely cultivated Quinoa.
The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.
This plant is supposedly used in traditional African medicine, but I am not familiar with any of these uses.
Close up of seed pods
A Bowl Full Of Seeds I Gathered. Alone, or added to Quinoa, this was a wonderful meal.
A closeup of seeds.