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Chenopodium album is a fast-growing weedy annual plant in the genus Chenopodium.
Though cultivated in some regions, the plant is elsewhere considered a weed. Common names include lamb's quarters, goosefoot and fat-hen, though the latter two are also applied to other species of the genus Chenopodium, for which reason it is often distinguished as white goosefoot  . It is sometimes also called pigweed, although that name is often also used for Amaranthus albus. Ambiguously, the name "fat-hen" or "fat hen" is also used for smearwort (Aristolochia rotunda).
Chenopodium album is extensively cultivated and consumed in Northern India as a food crop, and in English texts it may be called by its Hindi name bathua or bathuwa.
Uses and consumption
Food: The leaves and young shoots may be eaten as a leaf vegetable, either steamed in its entirety, or cooked like spinach, but should be eaten in moderation due to high levels of oxalic acid. Each plant produces tens of thousands of black seeds. These are high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Quinoa is a closely related species which is grown specifically for its seeds. It is also used as a medicinal plant in traditional African medicine.
Archaeologists analysing carbonized plant remains found in storage pits and ovens at Iron Age and Roman sites in Europe have found its seeds mixed with conventional grains and even inside the stomachs of Danish bog bodies.
In India, the plant is popularly called bathua and found abundantly in the winter season. The leaves and young shoots of this plant are used in dishes such as Sarson Da Saag, soups, curries and in Paratha stuffed breads, especially popular in Punjab. The seeds or grains are used in phambra or laafi, gruel type dishes in Himachal Pradesh, and in mildly alcoholic fermented beverages such as soora and ghanti.
As a walking stick: The stalk hardens with age. In China, the stalk had been used as a walking stick since ancient times.
Animal feed: As some of the common names suggest, it is also used as food (both the leaves and the seeds) for chickens, hens and other poultry. However, the nitrates in the plant can be converted very efficiently to nitrites in the rumen of cattle, leading to changes in haemoglobin and reducing the ruminants' oxygen binding capacity.
1. BSBI: Database of names (xls file)
2. a b Flora of NW Europe: Chenopodium album
3. a b c Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk: Chenopodium album
4. a b c d Flora of North America: Chenopodium album
5. a b "Handbook of Herbs Cultivation and Processing", By Niir Board, p. 146
7. Germplasm Resources Information Network: Chenopodium album
8. a b Flora Europaea: Chenopodium album
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10. a b Flora of China: Chenopodium album
11. African Flowering Plants Database: Chenopodium album
12. Australian Plant Name Index: Chenopodium album
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14. University of Florida IAS extension
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16. PROTAbase: Chenopodium album
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19. The himalayan grain chenopods. I. Distribution and ethnobotany
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Chenopodium_album", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.