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Saltmarsh Goosefoot

Chenopodium chenopodioides

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Ditches, fields, mud, mudflats, roadsides, saltmarshes, seaside, wasteland.

Green, no petals
Tightly packed clusters of green flowers.
The fruit is a shiny and oval.
Alternate, hairless, short-stalked leaves. Similar in appearance to Red Goosefoot (Chenopodium rubrum) but the leaves are smaller, more triangular and not as well toothed. Only found on the coast.
Other Names:
Hairy Goosefoot, Low Goosefoot.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Chenopodium chenopodioides, also known as the hairy goosefoot, is a herbaceous perennial plant in the Amaranthaceae family. It is native to North and South America, but has been introduced to other parts of the world. The plant can reach a height of 1 meters and has green, hairy leaves and small, greenish-white flowers that bloom in the summer.

This plant is considered a weed and can be found in disturbed areas such as roadsides, railroads, and fields. It is tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, including dry and infertile soils, and is able to colonize in disturbed areas.

Chenopodium chenopodioides is not commonly used for food or medicinal purposes. However, similar to other Chenopodium species, it contains toxic compounds, such as saponins, and it should not be consumed in large quantities. In some cases, it has been reported to cause skin rashes and other allergic reactions. Because of this, it is often considered a weed species and controlled in agricultural lands.


Saltmarsh Goosefoot, also known as Chenopodium chenopodioides, is a small plant species that belongs to the family Chenopodiaceae. It is native to coastal regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, where it grows in salt marshes, mudflats, and other wetland habitats.

The plant has a distinctive appearance, with succulent, lance-shaped leaves that are arranged in opposite pairs along the stem. The leaves are gray-green in color and have a slightly waxy texture, which helps to protect the plant from the harsh salt spray that can occur in its native habitat. Saltmarsh Goosefoot can grow up to 3 feet tall, with multiple branching stems that bear clusters of tiny greenish-yellow flowers.

In addition to its unique appearance, Saltmarsh Goosefoot is also known for its nutritional value. Like other members of the Chenopodium family, the plant is edible and can be used in a variety of ways. The young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and are high in vitamins A and C, as well as minerals such as iron and calcium. The seeds of the plant can also be ground into a flour and used to make bread or other baked goods.

Saltmarsh Goosefoot has a long history of use in traditional medicine as well. In Chinese medicine, the plant is used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, respiratory problems, and skin conditions. In Europe, the plant has been used as a diuretic and to treat inflammation and arthritis.

Despite its many benefits, Saltmarsh Goosefoot is not widely cultivated or used in modern times. However, it remains an important part of the ecosystem in coastal wetlands, where it helps to stabilize the soil and provide habitat for a variety of wildlife. The plant is also an important food source for migratory birds, such as the Snow Goose, which rely on it during their long journeys across the continent.

Saltmarsh Goosefoot is a hardy plant that is well adapted to life in wetland environments. Its succulent leaves and salt-tolerant roots allow it to thrive in areas that are too saline for many other plant species. In fact, the plant is often used in wetland restoration projects to help stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.

In addition to its ecological and culinary uses, Saltmarsh Goosefoot has also been the subject of scientific research. One recent study found that the plant contains high levels of antioxidants, which may have potential health benefits for humans. Other studies have investigated the plant's ability to accumulate heavy metals from the soil, which could have implications for phytoremediation efforts.

Despite its many positive attributes, Saltmarsh Goosefoot is also considered a noxious weed in some areas. When it grows unchecked, it can outcompete native plant species and disrupt the balance of the ecosystem. In these cases, efforts may be made to control or eradicate the plant in order to protect the surrounding habitat.

Saltmarsh Goosefoot has a long history of human use and has been cultivated for centuries as a food source. Its leaves and seeds are used in traditional dishes in many cultures around the world. For example, in Japan, the plant is used to make a type of dumpling called "shira-ae," which is typically served as a side dish. In Russia, Saltmarsh Goosefoot is used to make a type of porridge called "botvinia."

The plant is also used in traditional medicine in many cultures. In Ayurvedic medicine, the plant is used to treat digestive disorders, while in Native American medicine, it is used to treat infections and fever. Modern scientific research has confirmed many of these traditional uses and has identified new potential health benefits associated with the plant's high levels of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.

In addition to its cultural and medicinal uses, Saltmarsh Goosefoot also has important ecological roles. As a wetland plant, it provides habitat and food for a wide variety of animals, including insects, birds, and small mammals. The plant also helps to filter and purify water, which is important for maintaining healthy wetland ecosystems.

Despite its many positive attributes, Saltmarsh Goosefoot is threatened by habitat loss and other environmental pressures. In some areas, the plant is being displaced by invasive species or development. Conservation efforts are needed to protect and restore wetland habitats and ensure that this important plant species continues to thrive in the wild.

One interesting aspect of Saltmarsh Goosefoot is its ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Because it grows in harsh and dynamic environments such as salt marshes and mudflats, it has developed several strategies to cope with changing water levels, salinity, and other factors.

For example, the plant is able to store water in its succulent leaves, which helps it to survive during periods of drought or high salinity. Additionally, the plant can quickly respond to changes in light levels by adjusting the angle of its leaves to maximize photosynthesis.

Saltmarsh Goosefoot is also able to reproduce quickly and efficiently, which allows it to colonize new areas and compete with other plant species. The plant can produce large quantities of seeds, which are dispersed by wind and water, and can quickly germinate and grow under favorable conditions.

Despite its ability to adapt and thrive in challenging environments, Saltmarsh Goosefoot faces a number of threats. Habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, and pollution all pose significant risks to the plant and the wetland ecosystems where it lives. Conservation efforts, including habitat restoration and protection, are essential to ensure the long-term survival of this important plant species.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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