Plants of the Castlemaine district

Fat Hen - introduced (*Chenopodium album)

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Family: Chenopodiaceae (Chickweed family).

Native of Europe.

Occurrence: A widespread weed of cultivated land and wastelands.


This plant is reputed to have been used as a salad or cooked vegetable, particularly in times of food shortage. On the other hand, it is reputed to be poisonous to stock.

Similar species:
Sowbane (Chenopodium murale) is similar in appearance. Its stems are red-striped, and the leaves are green on bothsides.
Stinking Goosefoot (Chenopodium vulvaria) is a prostrate plant with a most obnoxious odour when crushed.

Name. Chenopodium: Goosefoot; cheno: goose; pod: foot, the leaves have the appearance of a goose's foot.


Photos: 1: Fat Hen growing in a dry location. In good conditions it will grow to a larger bushier and larger plant.
2: Portion of the stem of a Fat Hen. Dried specimen, Castlemaine.
3: Bladder-hairs on the leaves and stems give a mealy appearance.