Magenta Spreen Lambsquarter

Magenta Spreen Lambsquarter (Chenopodium giganteum a.k.a. “tree spinach”) has reemerged in our garden via the compost pile. It’s a striking edible weed, part of the family that encompasses spinach, quinoa and epazote. Seeds of Change sells this beautiful variety, oddly named “Magenta Spreen.” Like other members of the Chenopodium family it has a fair amount of oxalic acid which could be a problem if it’s all you ate. Even though I’m prone to kidney stones I’m not concerned about oxalic acid in moderation. Cooking reduces oxalic acid as well as saponins that the leaves also contain.

The Plants for a Future database entry on Chenopodium giganteum has a few cultivation details,

“An easily grown plant, succeeding in most soils but disliking shade. It prefers a moderately fertile soil. This species is closely related to C. album, and was probably derived from it through cultivation. The tree spinach is sometimes cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties. ‘Magentaspreen’ is a vigorous plant growing 1.5 metres tall. It has large leaves, the new growth is a brilliant magenta colour. Tastiest when young, the leaves are eaten raw or cooked like spinach. A warm climate is required in order to ripen the seed.”

Chenopodium giganteum has a tendency to become invasive, but I prefer to think of it as what Craig Ruggless of Garden Edibles calls a “happy wanderer.”

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  1. You guys are lifesavers, I swear.

    This has been popping up in my bed full of tomatoes and peppers, and I just had no idea what it was. I just know it roots very deeply. I have a non-magenta lambsquarter going crazy all over the yard, so the pink hearts on the seedlings were the darndest sight.

    Do you suppose the oxalic would cause issues for the hens? I can see yanking these up when they get big and letting the girls go crazy with with a bundle of plants strung up like a pinata in their run.

  2. I have read that all parts of the plant are edible. The seeds might be a nutritious, easier-to-grow substitute for something like quinoa, as they are closely related. Does anyone else know about this possibility?

  3. Looks similar to the amaranth that invaded us a few years back. We didn’t mind the invasion and sort of miss it now that it is almost gone.

  4. Pingback: Magenta Spreen | A Man and His Hoe

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