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Good King Henry

Chenopodium bonus-henricus

Plant Data

Order:
Caryophyllales
Family:
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth)
Flowering Months:
JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC
Flowers:
Flower spikes of which individual flowers consist of 5 tiny yellowish-green sepals.
Fruit:
An achene. The seeds are a reddish-green colour, up to 3mm across.
Leaves:
The botanical name 'Chenopodium' is derived from the Greek for 'goose foot'. This is in reference to the shape of the leaves. The dark green, broad, succulent leaves are roughly triangular in shape with pointed lobes at their bases on either side. Alternate, long-stalked, entire margins.
Maximum Size:
50cm tall.
Foraging Notes:
The young leaves are high in iron and can be eaten, raw or cooked. They can be used as a substitute for spinach, however, you should only eat the leaves in small quantities as they are mildly toxic. In fact, Good King Henry is sometimes known as 'Lincolnshire Spinach'. The seeds, stalks and flower buds are all edible too.
Never consume a wild plant unless you are 100% certain that it is safe to eat and you know that you have identified it correctly.
Other Names:
English Mercury, Lincolnshire Spinach, Markery, Mercury Goosefoot, Perennial Goosefoot, Poor Man's Asparagus, Wild Spinach.
Habitats:
Farmland, roadsides, wasteland.