Chenopodium album

Scientific Name Chenopodium album L.
Common Names English: Fat hen; German: Weißer Gänsefuß; French: Chénopode blanc; Spanish: Cenizo
Description Annual, monoecious weed, propagating itself by seed and occurring in many forms, up to 150 cm (59.05 inch) tall with a strong taproot.


Characteristic Features

Lower stem round or pentagonal in cross-section (Atriplex patula: almost square). Stems and leaves have almost spherical hairs, giving them a mealy, silvery appearance.
Leaf edges are irregularly toothed.


Fleshy, long and narrow with rounded tips, stemmed.


Lower stem rounded or pentagonal in cross-section, mealy and silvery in appearance.


Very variable, oval to triangular in shape, dark green, mostly with uneven, forward-pointing teeth.
Underside of the leaves reddish-purple, upper surface has a mealy, silvery coating.

Propagatio Organs


Small, forming a pyramid-shaped inflorescence, inconspicuous and greenish in color, in closely packed clusters in the leaf axils.

Flowering Period



Achene, single-seeded, completely enclosed by a thin husk and the perianth.


Germination mostly in spring until autumn.
Chenopodium album produces two kinds of seeds: approximately 95 % of the seeds are almost black, hard coated and dormant, around 5 % of the seeds are brown, almost uncoated and not dormant.

Viability Of Seeds

More than 30 years.


By seed. Rather 200 - 20,000 seeds per plant depending on the competition of the crop and weed density.
Almost no seed production in winter annual crops.
C. album germinates in soil depths of 0.5 - 5 cm (0.19 - 1.96 inch).



C. album is a most widely distributed species of weeds in the world and is one of the most successful colonizers with a wide range of pH values.


Humus-rich, well aerated and nitrogenated loamy or sandy soils. Chenopodium album basically occurs on all soils.

Additional Crop Information

Also in gardens, sunflower, legumes, summer cereals.

Agricultural Importance

Fat hen is a typical weed of row crops. Yield reduction is caused by nutrition deficiency, it also strongly competes for light, water and nutrients. Fat hen interferes with harvesting. It is a most important weed species in European corn fields with widespread resistance to triazin-herbicides.


Integrated Crop Management

Chenopodium album can be suppressed by larger proportions of winter annual crops in the rotation.

Related Crops

Choose directly from Category



Search directly for a particular pest



Search directly for a particular disease



Search directly for a particular weed

Choose by Crop