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Upright Goosefoot

Chenopodium urbicum

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
Fields, roadsides, towns, wasteland.

Green, no petals
The green, petalless flowers appear in leafy clusters. Wind-pollinated. 5 stamens.
The fruits are egg-shaped and flattened. The seeds ripen from August to October.
An annual flower with triangular-shaped leaves, up to 10cm long.
Other Names:
City Goosefoot, Urban Goosefoot.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Chenopodium urbicum, also known as urban goosefoot, is an annual plant in the Amaranthaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia, but it has been introduced to other parts of the world. The plant can reach a height of up to 1 meter and has green, lance-shaped leaves and small, greenish-white flowers that bloom in the summer.

Chenopodium urbicum is often found in disturbed areas such as roadsides, waste ground, and cultivated fields. It is tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, including dry and infertile soils, and is able to colonize in disturbed areas.

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


Upright Goosefoot, also known as Chenopodium urbicum, is a plant species that belongs to the family Amaranthaceae. It is an annual plant that grows up to a height of one meter, and is commonly found in temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.

Description and Characteristics

Upright Goosefoot is a fast-growing plant with a branched stem that is erect and hairless. Its leaves are alternate, simple, and toothed, with a length of up to 10 centimeters. The leaves are light green in color and have a triangular or diamond shape. The flowers of Upright Goosefoot are small and green, arranged in clusters on the axils of the leaves. They bloom from July to October, and are wind-pollinated.

Habitat and Distribution

Upright Goosefoot prefers to grow in nutrient-rich soils, such as those found in cultivated fields, gardens, and waste areas. It can also tolerate dry and salty soils. The plant is native to Europe and western Asia, but has been introduced to North America, where it is now considered an invasive species in some regions.

Uses and Benefits

Upright Goosefoot has been used as a food source in many cultures throughout history. The leaves and young shoots of the plant can be eaten raw or cooked, and are rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, and vitamin C. The seeds of the plant can also be eaten, and were traditionally ground into a flour to make bread.

In addition to its nutritional value, Upright Goosefoot has also been used for medicinal purposes. The plant has been used to treat digestive disorders, respiratory infections, and skin irritations. Its leaves can be boiled and applied as a poultice to wounds and burns.

Conservation Status

Upright Goosefoot is not considered to be a threatened species, as it is widely distributed and has a broad range. However, as an invasive species, it can have negative impacts on local ecosystems by outcompeting native plants for resources and altering soil conditions. Therefore, it is important to manage the spread of Upright Goosefoot in areas where it is not native.

In conclusion, Upright Goosefoot is a versatile plant that has been used for food and medicine for centuries. While it is not threatened as a species, its introduction to non-native regions can have negative ecological impacts. Understanding the benefits and potential risks of Upright Goosefoot can help us make informed decisions about how to manage this plant in different contexts.


Upright Goosefoot is a highly adaptable plant that can grow in a wide range of conditions. It is often found in disturbed areas such as roadsides, abandoned fields, and construction sites, where it can quickly establish itself and outcompete other plants. The plant is also tolerant of drought and can grow in soils with high salinity levels, making it well-suited to arid regions.

The plant has several common names, including Giant Goosefoot, Urban Goosefoot, and European Goosefoot. It is sometimes confused with other species of Goosefoot, such as Common Goosefoot (Chenopodium album) and Red Goosefoot (Chenopodium rubrum). However, Upright Goosefoot can be distinguished by its larger size, upright growth habit, and triangular or diamond-shaped leaves.

In addition to its nutritional and medicinal uses, Upright Goosefoot has also been used for dyeing fabrics. The plant contains a yellow pigment called xanthophyll, which can be extracted and used to dye wool and other natural fibers.

While Upright Goosefoot is not a highly prized plant in modern times, it has played an important role in the diets and cultures of many civilizations throughout history. It is an excellent source of nutrients and has been used to sustain populations during times of famine and scarcity. The plant's adaptability and resilience also make it an interesting subject for scientific research, as it may hold valuable insights into plant adaptation and evolution.

One interesting aspect of Upright Goosefoot is its role in traditional agriculture practices. In some regions, the plant is grown as a cover crop, which helps to suppress weeds and improve soil health. Upright Goosefoot is also known to attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and predatory wasps, which can help to control pest populations in agricultural fields.

Another interesting feature of Upright Goosefoot is its ability to accumulate minerals from the soil, particularly nitrates. While this can be beneficial in terms of soil remediation, it can also make the plant unsafe for consumption in certain circumstances. For example, Upright Goosefoot grown in contaminated soils can accumulate heavy metals and other toxins, which can be harmful to human health if consumed.

As an invasive species, Upright Goosefoot can have negative impacts on local ecosystems by outcompeting native plants and altering soil conditions. In North America, the plant is considered a noxious weed in some states and is subject to control measures. However, in its native range, Upright Goosefoot is an important component of many natural ecosystems and plays a valuable role in soil health and nutrient cycling.

Overall, Upright Goosefoot is a plant with a rich and varied history, and many interesting properties and uses. While it may not be as well-known as some other plants, it is an important part of the natural world and a valuable resource for those who take the time to learn about its many benefits and applications.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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