This is a blog about the pursuits of Naturalist Alan Russo to incorporate all things Natural, especially Plants, into his daily life. Living close to Nature has always been a passion of mine and I try, with natures help, to live a Healthy lifestyle for myself and for the Earth.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lambs Quarters

A Patch of Lamb's Quarters
  Lambs Quarters (chenopodium album) is one of those plants that has taught me a lesson. When I first got interested in plants, I resisted learning the Scientific names of plants. Not that I didn't like science, on the contrary, I loved Science! I guess I felt learning the Science would would keep me from getting to know the plant on a personal, more spiritual level. Than I started teaching and soon learned that common names are confusing because different people from different places call the same plant different things. Some of the names Lambs Quarters is known by are Pigweed, (because it was raised to feed Pigs) Goosefoot (because it is a member of the Goosefoot Family and has leaves shaped like a gooses webbed foot)
  Where I come from many people call Lamb's Quarters, Pigweed, where I live now the plants know as Pigweed are many different plants from the Amaranth family. Very confusing, and possibly dangerous, when trying to learn to use plants as food or medicine.
 Lambs Quarters is also one of those plants that are considered "weeds", and most will do away with it if they see it. Yet, like most other "weeds" Lambs Quarters is really a very nutritious vegetable. According to Euell Gibbons, lab analysis shows, Lambs Quarters is one of the top nutritious Wild Edibles you can find. One hundred grams of plant contains; 4.2mg of protein,  100mg iron, 11,600 IU vitamin A, 80mg ascorbic acid (vit C) and 309mg calcium. (all bioavailible, unlike milk which almost none is bioavalible . Some thoughts on drinking milk:  http://yougoddabekiddin.blogspot.com/2011/08/not-milk.html). As you can see this "weed" blows away many of your widely accepted Veggies.
White powdery look of the new leaves
 Lambs Quarters is pretty easy to ID. One of the distinguishing characteristics is the white powdery looking new leaves. The mature leaves are triangular in shape and deeply lobbed. The stem has purple where the branching stems meet the main stem:
Purple at the base of the branching stems.
and  the main stem is often vertically stripped light/dark green. I have seen the stem of some plants have some purple stripping also.
  Speaking of purple, you are able to find seeds for a purple variety of  Lambs Quarters in most Organic Seed Catalogs. I bought some this year and am growing them in my herb garden:
Purple Variety
 One word of caution. I have read many times that Lambs Quarters will take up and store toxic heavy metals from polluted soil. I don't know if this is one person parroting another, or if there is a real concern here as I have never seen the original research on this. But just to be cautious be sure you are harvesting in a non polluted area (which you should be doing anyway). This includes areas like the average toxic green lawn that has been sprayed or fertilized with petroleum based fertilizers.


  1. 'Phytoextraction capacity of the Chenopodium album L. grown on soil amended with tannery sludge'
    Established that chromium, lead, and cadmium are taken up and concentrated in the leaves.

    'Heavy Metal Accumulation in Wild Plants: Implications for Phytoremediation'
    Caught my eye, it found that Lactuca serriola, Chenopodium album, Artemisia vulgaris and Atriplex nitens all are good at accumulating heavy metals from soils and have promise in phytoremediation. L. serriola was one of the first greens I started eating this year :-s

    It seems the science is there.

  2. Thanks for the info, I will have to try to find that study so I might learn the facts and not just the hearsay.
    Thanks for stopping by,