All Floras      Advanced Search
FNA Vol. 4 Page 261, 265, 267, 268, Login | eFloras Home | Help
FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 4 | Chenopodiaceae

7. Chenopodium Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 218. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5. 103. 1754.

Goosefoot [Greek chen, goose, and pous, foot, in reference to the shape of the leaf]

Steven E. Clemants & Sergei L. Mosyakin

Herbs, annual or perennial [rarely suffruticose, or small trees], farinaceously pubescent with small white inflated hairs or glabrous. Stems erect to prostrate, branched (rarely simple), not jointed, not armed, not fleshy. Leaves alternate, petiolate or sessile, not fleshy; blade linear, oblong, lanceolate, ovate, triangular, trullate, or rhombic, flattened, not jointed, not spinose, base truncate, cordate, hastate, or cuneate, margins entire, dentate, sinuate, or serrate, apex acute to acuminate or obtuse, occasionally lobed. Inflorescences spicate and terminal or axillary glomerules; bracts usually absent or leaflike but narrower than leaves. Flowers bisexual (rarely unisexual, then terminal flower male or bisexual and lateral flowers female), bracteoles absent; perianth segments (3-)5, usually connate at base, sometimes almost to middle or beyond, not imbricate, rounded or keeled abaxially, wings and spines absent; stamens 5 or fewer; ovary superior; style 1 or absent; stigmas 2(-5), filiform. Fruits utricles or achenes, often enclosed in infolded perianth, indehiscent or irregularly dehiscent; pericarp membranaceous or chartaceous, adherent or nonadherent. Seeds horizontal or vertical [rarely oblique], lenticular to subglobose; seed coat black, brown-black, or reddish brown; embryo annular or hippocrepiform (horseshoe-shaped), surrounding copious farinaceous perisperm; radicle inferior or centrifugal. x = 9.

Species 100+ (34 in the flora): worldwide.

Chenopodium quinoa Willdenow (quinoa) is cultivated occasionally as a grain crop. It will key to Chenopodium berlandieri and is related to it. It generally has larger leaves and inflorescences and light-colored seeds.

Seeds are generally flattened and lentil-like. The equatorial edge (here called margin) may be rounded, flattened, or grooved. The surface is usually honey combed or smooth. All leaf characteristics refer to primary, well-developed leaves; those often fall early, however, so smaller, upper leaves often are shorter, narrower, and less lobed.


Aellen, P. 1929. Beitrag zur Systematik der Chenopodium-Arten Amerikas. Verwiegend auf Grund der Sammlung des United States National Museum in Washington, D.C. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 26: 31-64, 119-160. Aellen P. and T. Just. 1943. Key and synopsis of the American species of the genus Chenopodium L. Amer. Midl. Naturalist 30: 47-76. Bassett, I. J. and C. W. Crompton. 1982. The genus Chenopodium in Canada. Canad. J. Bot. 60: 586-610. Mosyakin, S. L. 1993. An outline of a system for Chenopodium L. (species of Europe, North and Central Asia). Ukrayins’k. Bot. Zhurn. 50: 71-77. Mosyakin, S. L. and S. E. Clemants. 1996. New infrageneric taxa and combinations in Chenopodium L. (Chenopodiaceae). Novon 6: 398-403. Wahl, H. A. 1954. A preliminary study of the genus Chenopodium in North America. Bartonia 27: 1-46.

1 Seeds vertical or both horizontal and vertical; leaf blades glabrous or occasionally farinose (C. glaucum, C. macrospermum) [7a. Chenopodium subg. Blitum]   (2)
+ Seeds all horizontal; leaf blades usually farinose [7b. Chenopodium subg. Chenopodium, 7b.2 Chenopodium sect. Chenopodium and 7b.1 sect. Grossefoveata]   (9)
2 (1) Perianth segments 5; plants perennial [7a.1. Chenopodium sect. Agathophytum]   (3)
+ Perianth segments usually 3; plants annual   (4)
3 (2) Leaf blade margins entire   1 Chenopodium bonus-henricus
+ Leaf blade margins sinuate-dentate   2 Chenopodium californicum
4 (2) Leaf blades lanceolate or oblong, glaucous abaxially [7a.5 Chenopodium sect. Glauca]   8 Chenopodium glaucum
+ Leaf blades triangular or rhombic, rarely lanceolate, green abaxially   (5)
5 (4) Leaf blades farinose abaxially [7a.3. Chenopodium sect. Degenia]   5 Chenopodium macrospermum
+ Leaf blades glabrous abaxially   (6)
6 (5) Glomerules 3-10 mm diam., sessile on unbranched terminal and occasionally axillary spikes; perianth segments fleshy, red at maturity (not fleshy but often red in C. capitatum var. parvicapitatum); seeds all vertical [7a.2. Chenopodium sect. Blitum]   (7)
+ Glomerules 2-5 mm diam., sessile on lateral branched spikes; perianth segments membranaceous, green at maturity; horizontal and vertical seeds both present [7a.4. Chenopodium sect. Pseudoblitum]   (8)
7 (6) Glomerules not subtended by leaflike bracts in distal 1/2 of spike; flow- ers maturing uniformly from apex of plant to base   3 Chenopodium capitatum
+ Glomerules subtended by leaflike bracts throughout inflorescence; flow- ers maturing from base of plant to apex   4 Chenopodium foliosum
8 (6) Perianth segments connate nearly to tip   6 Chenopodium chenopodioides
+ Perianth segments mostly connate only at very base   7 Chenopodium rubrum
9 (1) Flowers individually disposed in panicles; leaf blades glabrous   (10)
+ Flowers in loose or dense glomerules; leaf blades usually farinose [7b.2. Chenopodium sect. Chenopodium]   (11)
10 (9) Leaves sinuate-dentate; seeds 1.3-1.9 mm diam. [7b.1. Chenopodium sect. Grossefoveata]   9 Chenopodium simplex
+ Leaves entire; seeds 0.8-1.3 mm diam. [7b.2a. Chenopodium subsect. Polysperma]   10 Chenopodium polyspermum
11 (9) Primary leaves linear, linear-lanceolate, or occasionally narrowly oblong-ovate, 2-3 times longer than broad or longer; usually without teeth or lobes or occasionally with a pair of basal lobes [7b.2d. Chenopodium subsect. Leptophylla and 7b.2b. Chenopodium subsect. Chenopodium (33. C. strictum)]   (12)
+ Leaves ovate, rhombic, triangular, or lanceolate, to 2 times longer than broad; usually with basal lobes and often with additional teeth on margin   (22)
12 (11) Leaves with 1 vein, blades linear, usually somewhat fleshy, margins entire   (13)
+ Leaves with 3 veins from base, blades linear, lanceolate, or occasionally narrowly oblong-ovate or triangular-rhombic, usually without teeth or lobes or occasionally with a pair of basal lobes   (16)
13 (12) Fruit an utricle, pericarp separable; plant mostly not farinose   18 Chenopodium subglabrum
+ Fruit an achene, pericarp attached; plant mostly farinose   (14)
14 (13) Sepals connate to or above widest part of seed; seeds 1.3-1.5 mm diam., margins acute   17 Chenopodium cycloides
+ Sepals connate only at very base; seeds 0.8-1.5 mm diam., margin srounded   (15)
15 (14) Seeds 1.4-1.6 mm diam.; well-grown plants more than 4 dm   19 Chenopodium pallescens
+ Seeds 0.9-11.1 mm diam.; plants chiefly less than 4 dm   20 Chenopodium leptophyllum
16 (12) Leaves 3 times longer than broad or longer   (17)
+ Leaves 2-3 times longer than broad, usually narrowly oblong-ovate or deltoid rhombic   (20)
17 (16) Fruit an achene, pericarp attached, minutely granular-roughened; seeds flattened on top   16 Chenopodium hians
+ Fruit an utricle, pericarp separable; seeds rounded on top   (18)
18 (17) Perianth spreading from fruit at maturity; plants strictly erect   13 Chenopodium pratericola
+ Perianth enclosing fruit at maturity; plants erect to spreading   (19)
19 (18) Plants usually spreading; perianth segments obtuse; leaf blades usually unlobed   14 Chenopodium desiccatum
+ Plants erect; perianth segments acute; leaf blades often with basal lobes   15 Chenopodium foggii
20 (16) Fruit an utricle, pericarp separable; leaf blades entire   21 Chenopodium atrovirens (in part)
+ Fruit an achene, pericarp attached; leaf blades often toothed   (21)
21 (20) Leaves with 3 prominent veins, sparsely farinose; seeds 0.7-0.8 mm diam   25 Chenopodium nevadense (in part)
+ Leaves with one prominent vein and two obscure outer veins at the base, moderately farinose; seeds 0.9-1.5 mm diam.   33 Chenopodium strictum (in part)
22 (11) Seeds honeycomb-pitted [7b.2f. Chenopodium subsect. Favosa]   (23)
+ Seeds smooth or areolate   (26)
23 (22) Lower leaves entire or with only 1-2 teeth or lobes near base   (24)
+ Lower leaves serrate and usually lobed   (25)
24 (23) Seeds subglobose, entirely covered by perianth segments at maturity; pericarp slightly to prominently whitened; leaves broadest very near base   26 Chenopodium watsonii
+ Seeds more or less flattened, partially exposed at maturity; pericarp black; leaves usually prominently lobed above the base   27 Chenopodium neomexicanum
25 (23) Leaves with central lobe 2-3 times longer than lateral lobe   28 Chenopodium ficifolium
+ Leaves with central lobe only slightly longer than lateral lobes or unlobed and merely toothed   29 Chenopodium berlandieri
26 (22) Leaves triangular   (27)
+ Leaves ovate to broadly ovate, rhombic, or lanceolate, variously lobed or toothed   (30)
27 (26) Leaf blades toothed and sometimes with basal lobes, usually glabrous   (28)
+ Leaf blades with basal lobes but no additional teeth, usually farinose [7b.2e. Chenopodium subsect. Fremontiana]   (29)
28 (27) Seeds 0.8-1.2 mm diam, seed margin round; leaf blades often with basal lobes [7b.2b. Chenopodium subsect. Urbica]   11 Chenopodium urbicum
+ Seeds 1-1.5 mm diam., seed margin acute; leaf blades without basal lobes [7b.2c. Chenopodium subsect. Undata]   12 Chenopodium murale
29 (27) Plants simple below, branching above; seeds 1-1.3 mm diam.   22 Chenopodium fremontii
+ Plants profusely branching from base; seeds 0.9-1.1(-1.2) mm diam   23 Chenopodium incanum
30 (26) Leaf blades without teeth except for often present basal lobes or teeth   (31)
+ Leaf blades with lateral teeth and often basal lobes   (35)
31 (30) Flowers in markedly different stages of development in the same glom- erules [7b.2g. Chenopodium subsect. Standleyana]   30 Chenopodium standleyanum
+ Flowers all more or less in same stages of development in same glomerules   (32)
32 (31) Leaves without basal lobes or teeth, malodorus [7b.2b. Chenopodium subsect. Chenopodium]   34 Chenopodium vulvaria
+ Leaf blades with basal lobes; not malodorous   (33)
33 (32) Fruit an achene, pericarp attached [7b.2e. Chenopodium subsect. Fremontii]   25 Chenopodium nevadense (in part)
+ Fruit an utricle, pericarp separable   (34)
34 (33) Plants 0.1-0.7 m [7b.2d. Chenopodium subsect. Leptophylla]   21 Chenopodium atrovirens (in part)
+ Plants 0.5-1.2 m [7b.2e. Chenopodium subsect. Fremontii]   24 Chenopodium albescens
35 (30) Leaves widely ovate, as long as broad; lateral lobes equaling terminal lobes in size   31 Chenopodium opulifolium
+ Leaves ovate, rhombic, or lanceolate, longer than broad; lateral lobes when present smaller than the terminal lobe   (36)
36 (35) Leaf margins tapering to an acute apex; leaves ovate, rhombic, or lanceolate; inflo- rescence branched spicate or cymose   32 Chenopodium album
+ Leaf margins more or less parallel below the obtuse apex, leaves lanceolate to narrowly elliptic; inflorescence normally moniliform, not profusely branching   33 Chenopodium strictum (in part)

  • List of lower taxa


    Related Objects  

    Flora of Chile  
  • PDF
  • PDF
    Flora of China  
  • PDF File
  • PDF

  •  |  eFlora Home |  People Search  |  Help  |  ActKey  |  Hu Cards  |  Glossary  |