12. Chenopodium giganteum D. Don, Prodr. Fl. Nepal. 75. 1825.
杖藜 zhang li
Chenopodium amaranticolor Coste & Reynier; C. mairei H. Léveillé.
Herbs annual, large, to 3 m tall. Stem erect, much branched above, stout, reddish green or reddish purple striate, ribbed, base to 5 cm in diam. Leaf blade abaxially light green, adaxially dark green, rhombic to ovate, to 20 × 16 cm, 1.5-2 × as long as petiole, abaxially farinose or glabrescent, adaxially not farinose, base broadly cuneate, margin irregularly undulate serrate, apex usually obtuse; upper leaf blades gradually becoming smaller, ovate to ovate-lanceolate, reddish or golden yellow vesicular hairy when young, margin serrate or entire. Inflorescence of large, terminal panicles, farinose, usually pendulous in fruit. Flowers bisexual, several per glomerule or solitary. Perianth segments 5, green or dark purple, ovate, margin membranous. Stamens 5. Utricle lenticular; pericarp membranous. Seed horizontal, black or red-black, ca. 1.5 mm in diam., reticulate lineate, rim margin obtuse. Fl. Aug, fr. Sep-Oct.
Long cultivated in China and becoming naturalized. Beijing. Gansu, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hunan, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan [native origin unknown; commonly cultivated in many countries of the world].
This plant most probably represents a cultivar, which originated in India, of the Chenopodium album aggregate. Similar cultivated plants of E Asia were described as C. centrorubrum (Makino) Nakai. Other similar plants (probably of different origin) are known as C. amaranticolor, C. purpurascens Jacquin, etc. A new taxonomic revision of cultivated members of the C. album aggregate is badly needed.
The stout stems are used for making walking sticks.