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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Scientific Name: 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.

Habitat: Lamb's-quarters is very widespread throughout Canada, occurring in cultivated fields, pastures, wasteland, roadsides, gardens and almost anywhere the soil is disturbed.


  • Cotyledons are narrowly elliptic, 12- 15 mm (4- 6 in.) long, upper surface is dull green, maroon on the underside
  • Mealy grey coating on young leaves
  • First 2 or 4 true leaves apparently opposite (2 per node)


  • 20- 200 cm (8 in.-6½ ft) high
  • Branched or unbranched
  • Smooth
  • Green or with reddish or purplish lengthwise stripes and ridges


  • All later leaves and branches distinctly alternate (1 per node)
  • Stalked
  • Blades 3- 10 cm (1- 4 in.) long
  • Lance-shaped or more often broadly triangular
  • Irregular, usually shallow teeth
  • Green or greyish due to a covering of a white mealiness or powderiness, sometimes with reddish undersurface on young plants


  • Very small
  • Greenish
  • Densely grouped together into small, thick, granular clusters along the main stem and upper branches
  • 5 green sepals but no petals
  • Seeds:
    • Small
    • Rounded in outline
    • Somewhat flattened
    • 1- 1.5 mm (1/25- 1/16 in.) 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

Often Confused With
Pigweed Seedlings (Similar in habitat, often found growing together. At first leaf stage, lamb’s quarters has opposite leaves, pigweed’s are alternate)

Lamb's-quarters seedling Lamb's-quarters seedling Lamb's-quarters Lamb's-quarters leaf Lamb's-quarters
Click to enlarge.