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Genus: Chenopodium

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Core Eudicots > Order: Caryophyllales > Family: Amaranthaceae > Subfamily: Chenopodioideae

About 150 species, found worldwide, with 10 species native to southern Africa, 13 species that are naturalised, and a further two species that are cultivated in the region. Chenopodium strictum is recorded from Zimbabwe but not included here, as it's taxonomic status is considered uncertain by the African Plants Database. The leaves of a number of species are cooked and eaten in the same way as spinach.

Both Chenopodium and Amaranthus species are referred to as 'pigweed'.

The leaves of a number of Chenopodium species are cooked and eaten in the same way as spinach, but it should be noted that great care should be taken not to confuse the seedlings of Chenopodium with those of the poisonous Nicotiana glauca (Wild tobacco). People can, and have, died from making this mistake.

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Chenopodium amboanum

 

Chenopodium foliosum

 

Chenopodium hederiforme

 

Chenopodium hircinum

 

Chenopodium mucronatum

 

Chenopodium olukondae

 

Chenopodium petiolariforme

 

Chenopodium phillipsianum

 

Chenopodium procerum

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

 

Chenopodium stellulatum

 

Species naturalised in southern Africa

List from Makgakga (2003).

Chenopodium album (Fat hen, Goosefoot, Lamb's quarters)

The fresh leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable (in the same way as spinach) in many parts of the world, including southern Africa. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Chenopodium ambrosioides (Wormseed)

The leaves are cooked and eaten as a spinach-like vegetable, in the same way as Chenopodium album. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Chenopodium botryodes

 

Chenopodium carinatum

See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Chenopodium cristatum

 

Chenopodium giganteum

 

Chenopodium glaucum

The leaves are cooked and eaten as a spinach-like vegetable, in the same way as Chenopodium album.

 

Chenopodium multifidum

 

Chenopodium murale

The leaves are cooked and eaten as a spinach-like vegetable, in the same way as Chenopodium album.

 

Chenopodium opulifolium

 

Chenopodium polyspermum

 

Chenopodium pumilio

 

Chenopodium schraderianum

 

Chenopodium x bontei

 

Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

From Glen (2002).

Chenopodium bonus-henricus (Good King Henry)

Native to Europe. Leaves are cooked and eaten like spinach. It has not become naturalised in southern Africa but it is cultivated in this region.

 

Chenopodium quinoa (Quinoa)

Not listed in Glen (2002) but probably by now cultivated in southern Africa as it has become a popular health food.

Publications

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Makgakga, M.C. 2003. Chenopodiaceae. In Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds), Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14: 362-369. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria. 

 


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