Chenopodium simplex (Maple-leaf Goosefoot)
|Also known as:||Giant-seed Goosefoot|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade, sun; moist rocky or sandy soil; woods, pine forest, cliffs, rocky slopes, shores, wetland edges, roadsides, waste places|
|Bloom season:||June - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 5 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Numerous tiny flowers are tightly packed in rounded clusters (glomerules) in spike-like and branching arrangements at the top of the stem, at the tips of branching stems, and arising from upper leaf axils. Within a glomerule, flowers may be at different stages of development, some just budding and others with maturing fruit.
Flowers lack petals, have 5 stamens and a round, green ovary with a 2-parted style at the tip. Cupping the flower is a green calyx with usually 5 lobes up to 1 mm long, occasionally 4 lobes. Flowers are sometimes pinkish and may turn red with maturity. Bracts are absent. The calyx and stalks are smooth to sparsely white-mealy.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, 1½ to 6+ inches long, up to about 4 inches wide, triangular to egg-shaped in outline, irregularly lobed around the edge, the lobes like large, sharply pointed teeth with a broad, rounded sinus between, the base heart-shaped to straight across. Lower leaves are largest on stalks up to about 1 inch long, upper leaves usually smaller and shorter-stalked. Surfaces are bright green, hairless and smooth, sometimes sparsely white-mealy when young but becoming smooth. Stems are usually erect, unbranched to much branched, green and smooth except in the flower clusters.
Fruit is a dry seed enclosed in the persistent ovary shell (pericarp) that matures from green to brown and may loosely wrap the seed or is tightly adhered to it. Fruit in the glomerule is all arranged horizontally.
Maple-leaf Goosefoot, known in some references as Chenopodiastrum simplex, Chenopodium gigantospermum or Chenopodium hybridum, is an annual found mostly in moist, usually shaded, rocky or sandy soils and is less weedy than most other Chenopodium species. It is distinguished from the others primarily by the leaves, which are larger than average with a few large, sharply pointed teeth-like lobes and a broad, rounded sinus between teeth. Leaves are not white-mealy, or only sparsely so when young. The flower or fruit clusters are also smooth to sparsely white-mealy, the calyx usually has 5 lobes, the clusters are more heavily branched than most others in the genus, and seeds are shiny black and larger than average, 1 to 2 mm long.
It is one of the easier Chenopodium species to identify. By comparison, other species may have leaves that have rounded lobes or not lobed at all, are consistently white-mealy on one or both leaf surfaces, are densely white-mealy in the flower and fruit clusters, have only 3(4) calyx lobes, and/or seeds less than 1 mm long, have a more deeply pitted or wrinkly texture on the surface, and/or are brown.
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- Maple-leaf Goosefoot plant
- Maple-leaf Goosefoot plants
- Maple-leaf Goosefoot plants
- young Maple-leaf Goosefoot plant
- robust Maple-leaf Goosefoot plant
- fruit commonly turns red
- seedling emerging in spring
- leaf scan
- leaves can be quite large
- scan of upper plant
- fruit turning pink
- flowers in different stages of development within a glomerule
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Clay and Renville counties. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in various locations across Minnesota.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?