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 - cooked and used like spinach
. The raw leaves should only be eaten in small quantities, see the notes above on toxicity.
Seed - ground into a powder and added to wheat flour or other cereals in making bread etc. It is best to soak the seed overnight and rinse it thoroughly before use. Small and quite fiddly to use.
Gold/green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant
There are no medicinal uses listed for Chenopodium polyspermum.
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 polyspermum. 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
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Chenopodium polyspermum. 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 polyspermum.
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)
? 2.02.1 Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-7971-2 ()
? 3.03.1 Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
? 4.04.1 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
? 6.06.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
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