Ontario Weeds: Lamb's quarters

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Leaves
  7. Flowers and Fruit
  8. Habitat
  9. Similar Species
  10. Related Links

Name: Lamb's-quarters, Chenopodium album L.,

Other Names: chénopode blanc, Fat-hen, Pigweed, White goosefoot, White pigweed, chou gras, poulette grasse, ansérine blanche

Family: Goosefoot Family (Chenopodiaceae)

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed. Very variable in appearance.

Photos and Pictures

Lamb's quarters.

Lamb's quarters. Leaves.

Lamb's quarters. Leaves.

Lamb's quarters. Leaves.

Lamb's quarters. A. Young flowering plant. B. Seedling in 2nd true-leaf stage, top and side views. C. Seedling in 6th true-leaf stage.

Lamb's quarters. A. Young flowering plant. B. Seedling in 2nd true-leaf stage, top and side views. C. Seedling in 6th true-leaf stage.

Stems & Roots: 20-200cm (8in.-6½ft) high, branched or unbranched, smooth, green or with reddish or purplish lengthwise stripes and ridges

Leaves: First 2 or 4 true leaves apparently opposite (2 per node), but all later leaves and branches distinctly alternate (1 per node); leaves stalked, the blades 3-10cm (1-4in.) long, lance-shaped or more often broadly triangular with irregular, usually shallow teeth; leaves green or grayish due to a covering of a white mealiness or powderiness, sometimes with reddish undersurface on young plants.

Flowers & Fruit: Flowers very small, greenish, densely grouped together into small, thick, granular clusters along the main stem and upper branches, having 5 green sepals but no petals; seeds small, rounded in outline, somewhat flattened, 1-1.5mm (1/25-1/16in.) in diameter, enclosed in a very thin, membranous, smooth, whitish covering (pericarp) which is readily fractured and lost when dry. Flowers from June to August.

Habitat: Lamb's-quarters is very widespread throughout Canada, occurring in cultivated fields, pastures, wasteland, roadsides, gardens and almost anywhere the soil is disturbed.
   
Similar Species: It is distinguished from the Atriplexes by having only the first 2 or 4 leaves arranged in opposite pairs, and from most other weeds by its broadly triangular leaves with irregular, shallow teeth, its smooth, occasionally mealy or scurfy leaves and stem, and its inflorescence of small, greenish flowers in granular clusters.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 01 June 2000
Last Reviewed: 01 November 2003