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 and young shoots - raw or cooked like spinach
. The raw leaves should only be eaten in small quantities, see the notes above on toxicity.
Seed - ground into a powder and used with cereal flours for making bread or gruel
. The seed 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
There are no medicinal uses listed for Chenopodium berlandieri.
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 berlandieri. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
We have very little information on this species and do not know how well it will grow in Britain, but it should succeed as a spring sown annual. According to some botanists this species is no more than a synonym for C. album
whilst 'World Economic Plants' treats it as a distinct species and includes C. nuttalliae (which is dealt with here as a distinct species) as a sub-species. It is viewed as a distinct, but very similar, species in the Flora of North and Central Texas
. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
An easily grown plant, succeeding in most soils but disliking shade
. It prefers a moderately fertile soil
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Chenopodium berlandieri. 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 berlandieri.
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
? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
? 2.02.12.2 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
? 3.03.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
? 4.04.1 Coon. N. The Dictionary of Useful Plants. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-090-x (1975-00-00)
? 5.05.15.2 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
? 6.06.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
? 7.07.1 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
? Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)
? 9.09.1 Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J [Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas] Botanical Research Institute, Texas. (1999-00-00)
? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
? 11.011.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)
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