Local Wild Plant Profile: Lamb’s Quarters
July 31, 2013
Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium album) is a common plant across Michigan. It’s found almost anywhere from spring to fall on disturbed soil, in fields, along roadsides and trails, in vacant lots, and parks. If you garden, chances are that you know Lamb’s Quarters as a prolific weed. However, like many “weeds” it is actually a beneficial plant. It is high in Vitamins A and C, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, manganese, potassium, and iron.Identification ==============
Lamb’s Quarters is an odorless branching plant that eventually grows 3 to 10 feet tall. The leaves are variable, with the upper leaves being narrow and toothless and the lower leaves being roughly diamond -shaped and broadly toothed.
A distinguishing feature of Lamb’s Quarters are the underside of its leaves, which are often mealy white (almost lavender like):As the plant grows, it develops small, greenish ball-shaped flowers that eventually turn reddish in the fall. Once the flowers turn reddish, they develop black seeds.
To harvest Lamb’s Quarters, pull off the leaves. The younger leaves are the best.
Lamb’s Quarters are excellent steamed for 5 to 10 minutes, as they have a taste that resembles a more nut-like spinach. They can also be sauteed or used in any recipe that calls for spinach. Like all greens, they cook down quite a bit, so you may want to harvest more than you think you need.
In the fall, the seeds can be harvested and used as a grain. Like the leaves, they are highly nutritious.
Local Wild Plant Profile: Lamb’s Quarters was published on July 31, 2013