South Dakota Native Plant Research
Chenopodiaceae: Chenopodium berlandieri

Chenopodiaceae: Chenopodium berlandieri


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Family Name


Common Name

Pitseed goosefoot

Native American Name

Lakota: waȟpé tȟotȟó, čhaŋȟlóǧaŋ íŋkpa gmigméla


Chenopodium berlandieri is an erect to ascending, unbranched to highly branched herb, mostly < 1 m tall, the stems with green to red to purple stripes and a sparse to dense white-mealy covering, especially on the upper stems. The simple alternate leaves are thick, 2-15 cm long, up to 8 cm wide, variable in shape, diamond-shaped to triangular to oval to lance-elliptic, the tip pointed to blunt, the margins with irregular teeth, the base wedge-shaped to straight, with petioles up to 8 cm long and a white-mealy covering. The lower leaves are largest, irregularly toothed, usually with a pair of shallow lobes near the base. The upper leaves become smaller and less toothy as they ascend the stem, with the uppermost leaves often much narrower and toothless. The inflorescence consists of terminal and axillary panicles of clusters of tiny flowers (glomerules). The flowers have 5 keeled sepals, that are covered with white-mealy dots, and surround the mature fruit. There are 5 stamens and a pistil with 2 styles. The fruit is a dry seed enclosed in the persistent sepals (utricle), arranged horizontally, and having a pitted surface. Pitseed goosefoot blooms from July into September on disturbed, open ground throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Pitseed goosefoot is the most common Chenopodium in SD. It leaves are edible like spinach, its seeds like quinoa, and is often mistaken for lamb’s quarters, C. album, which has native and introduced varieties that are also edible. It grows easily in a garden and is most often grown in vegetable gardens as apposed to native plant gardens.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Seeds mature in late summer and fall and can be collected when they turn black.

Germination: There is little dormancy and seeds can be fall or spring sown before the ground warms.

Light: Full sun.

Soil: Well drained soils of most types. Richer soils produce softer, larger leaves.

Water: Mesic to moist.

Chenopodiaceae: Chenopodium berlandieri