The leaves and seeds of all members of this genus are more or less edible. However, many of the species in this genus contain saponins, though usually in quantities too small to do any harm. Although toxic, saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without any problem. They are also broken down to a large extent in the cooking process. Saponins are found in many foods, such as some beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].
The plants also contain some oxalic acid, which in large quantities can lock up some of the nutrients in the food. However, even considering this, they are very nutritious vegetables in reasonable quantities. Cooking the plants will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition
Leaves - raw or cooked
. Used like spinach
, they are a good source of vitamins C and A
. The young leaves are best
. Poor quality
. The raw leaves have been used in salad mixtures
, but should only be eaten in small quantities, see the notes above on toxicity.
Fruit - raw or cooked. An insipid but sweet flavour, they can be added to salads. The fruit is about 12mm in diameter.
Seed - cooked. It can be ground into a meal and mixed with cereal flours in making bread etc
. The seed is small and fiddly, it should be soaked in water overnight and thoroughly rinsed before it is used in order to remove any saponins.
Gold/green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant
A red dye is obtained from the fruit, it is used in cosmetics and as a paint
The plant has been used as a lotion for treating black eyes and head bruises
The juice of the seeds and an infusion of the plant has been used to treat lung congestion
Seed - sow spring in situ. Most of the seed usually germinates within a few days of sowing.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Chenopodium capitatum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
An easily grown plant, succeeding in most soils but disliking shade
. It prefers a moderately fertile soil
A very ornamental plant
, strawberry blite has at times been cultivated for its edible leaves
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Chenopodium capitatum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Chenopodium capitatum.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
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? 7.07.1 Coon. N. The Dictionary of Useful Plants. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-090-x (32202/01/01)
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? 10.010.110.2 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (32202/01/01)
? 11.011.111.211.311.4 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (32202/01/01)
? 12.012.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
? 13.013.1 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (32202/01/01)
? 14.014.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (32202/01/01)
? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (32202/01/01)
? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (32202/01/01)
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