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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

fat hen (Chenopodium album)


An erect, branched (occasionally unbranched) annual herb, green, more or less coated with white mealy pubescence. Cotyledons petiole, lanceolate-linear, mealy, bluish-grey with a reddish tinge beneath, 6–12 mm long and 1.5–4 mm broad (Korsmo et al., 1981). Roots stout and tapering at the end. Many branches may emerge from main tap root system. Epidermal cells are more or less polygonal in shape. Fewer, smaller stomata on upper compared to lower leaf surface (Srivastava, 1967). Stems erect, branched towards apex, 0.2–2 m tall, glabrous, furrowed, often with red or light-green streaks, branching varies from slight to extensive. Leaves alternate, simple ovate to rhomboid-oval, uppermost leaves mostly lanceolate, sometimes linear and sessile, glabrous, usually white with a mealy-covering, particularly on young leaves, all leaves densely covered with small, utriculate hairs. Inflorescence in irregular spikes clustered in panicles at the ends of the branches. Flower perfect, small, sessile, green; calyx of 5 sepals that are more or less keeled and nearly covering the mature fruit; petals 1; stamens 5, pistil 1, with 2 or 3 styles, ovary single-celled, attached at right angles to the flower axis. Fruits is an achene (seed covered by the thin papery pericarp). Seed nearly circular in outline, oval in cross section, sides convex, glossy, black, mean size 1.5 mm x 1.4 mm in diameter, weight 1.2 mg.


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