Common lambsquarters

August 21, 2015

Chenopodium album L. 

Life cycle

Erect summer annual.

Common lambsquarters seedling
Common lambsquarters plant.


Cotyledons are oblong, narrow and linear with no midvein and a dull green to gray cast. The first one or two leaf pairs are opposite; all remaining leaves are alternate. Mature leaves are highly variable, being triangle-, diamond- or lance-shaped and light green above with gray, mealy undersides. Lower leaves have a petiole and irregular wavy to shallowly toothed margins. Young or newly emerged leaves often have a gray, mealy coating on both surfaces.

Common lambsquarters cotyledon Common lambsquarters leaf
Common lambsquarters cotyledons do not have midveins (left). Common lambsquarters leaf (right).


Erect, moderately branched central stem up to 6 feet in height. Mature stems are vertically grooved with red, purple or light green stripes.

Flowers and fruit

Green, inconspicuous flowers are found in dense, granular clusters at the stem ends. Round to oval, somewhat flattened, black to brown, shiny seeds are enclosed by a star-shaped, papery covering.

Common lambsquarters plant
Mature seedhead of common lambsquarters.



Common lambsquarters mature seedhead
Common lambsquarters seedling.

Similar weeds

Atriplex (Atriplex patula L.) Differs by having larger cotyledons, a more branching, spreading habit due to the opposite arrangement of the first several pairs of leaves and branches, and leaf bases with a lobe on each side.

Atriplex seedling Atriplex leaf
Atriplex seedling (left). Atriplex leaf base with a lobe on each side (right).

Atriplex plant
Atriplex plant.

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