What is Chenopodiaceae? (with photos)

Beetroot is an edible plant in the Chenopodiaceae family.

Chenopodiaceae is the scientific name for a large and diverse family of plants that are commonly characterized as weeds or shrubs. The family comprises over 1,400 species, most of which have evolved to tolerate poor, dry, and even salty soils. Generally, these plants are found in dry or desert conditions, in grasslands or grasslands, and along the coast. Some are succulent and look similar to cacti. Family members may be perennial or deciduous, and may be annual, perennial, or biennial.

Swiss chard is an edible member of the Chenopodiaceae plant family.

This family of plants is also known as the chenopod family or the goosefoot family. The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG) taxonomy system – a commonly used plant naming system – does not recognize Chenopodiaceae as a distinct family. Instead, APG combines Chenopodiaceae with the Amaranthaceae family, calling it the Chenopodiaceae Amaranthaceae, or just Amaranthaceae.

Quinoa is an edible member of the Chenopodiaceae family.

Some of the more commonly known plants included in the Chenopodiaceae family are the holy herb, Russian thistle, four-winged mugwort, and the sagebrush. Other plants include goose feet, salt bush, lamb’s quarter, burning bush and Mexican tea. Edible plants in the family include beets, sugar beets, Swiss chard, quinoa, and spinach.

Chenopodiaceae plants, also called Chenopods, are usually not very attractive. They have small, inconspicuous flowers and simple gray-green leaves. The pollen produced is very light and the plants are easily pollinated by the wind. Chenopods bloom in summer and fall and can contribute to fall allergies. Goose foot, Russian thistle, burning bush and quarters of lamb are associated with hay fever.

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Sugar beet is an example of edible chenopodiaceae and is commonly grown in gardens.

In many areas, chenopods have a tendency to become invasive, meaning they self-seed and reproduce prolifically, smothering other more desirable plants. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has specifically identified three members of the Chenopods as recognized invasive species: common lamb quarters, white goose foot, and Mexican tea. Russian thistle can be prolific in grasslands and is considered an agricultural weed in grasslands. The plant’s spines are often found embedded in the tongue of cows and can cause serious infections.

Chenopods commonly grown in home gardens include sugar beet, Swiss chard and spinach – all biennial, meaning they produce leaves and roots in one season and flowers and seeds in the next. Typically, these plants are harvested as roots or leaves during the first year of production and can never sow seeds. This prevents their invasive nature from becoming a nuisance in the home garden. For home gardeners who want to collect seeds from their own plants, some plants must remain in the garden until their second year. To avoid cross-pollination and the production of unwanted varieties, different varieties should be planted at least 500 feet (about 150 m) apart.

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