Chenopodium rubrum L.

red goosefoot

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

There are two varieties of red goosefoot found in New England. One (C. rubrum var. humile) is introduced (it is native in the western states), and is occasionally found in Massachusetts and Maine in disturbed soils and ditches. The other (C. rubrum var. rubrum) is a rare native plant primarily of salt marshes. The Gosiute People used the seeds of this plant for food.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), brackish or salt marshes and flats, intertidal, subtidal or open ocean

Characteristics

Habitat
  • aquatic
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
Flower petal color
NA
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
  • the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
  • there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
  • there are three petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
Stamen number
  • 1 or 2
  • 3
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther opening
    the anthers have narrow slits or furrows that run lengthwise along the anthers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    NA
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary, and lacks a hypanthium
    Flower petal color
    NA
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    • NA
    • the style is unbranched, but it has two or more narrow appendages that are part of the stigma
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    • there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    • there are three petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    2
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    Petal and sepal colors
    green to brown
    Petal appearance
    NA
    Petal folds or pleats
    NA
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal number
    0
    Petal tip shape
    NA
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    NA
    Sepal and petal color
    NA
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal number
    3–4
    Stamen attachment
    the stamens are not attached to the petals or tepals
    Stamen number
    • 1 or 2
    • 3
    Stamen position relative to petals
    • NA
    • the stamens are lined up with the sepals
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    • the achenes are parallel to the plane of the perianth (horizontal)
    • the achenes are perpendicular to the plane of the perianth (vertical)
    Achene shape
    • the achenes are another shape in outline
    • the achenes are oval in outline
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    the fruit is a utricle (a type of achene in which the pericarp is loosely attached and often readily removed)
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule ribs
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    NA
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit locules
    one
    Fruit shape
    • the fruit is flat or strongly compressed
    • the fruit is ovoid (egg-shaped)
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is an achene (dry, usually one-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has basal placentation, where one or a few ovules develop at the base of a simple or compound ovary
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    the plant does not have stolons
    Lifespan
    the plant lives only a single year or less
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    no
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    • the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf blade length
    10–90 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is rhombic (roughly diamond-shaped)
    • the leaf blade is triangular, with the stalk or attachment point on one of the sides
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the major veins of the leaf blade branch, but do not rejoin
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk base
    the petiole base is narrow where it attaches to the stem
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaf types
    There is a gradual change in appearance of the leaves from the base (or near the base) of the plant to those from further up on the stem, with leaves progressively changing as one moves higher on the stem (often becoming shorter, or less toothed/lobed, and/or with shorter petioles).
    Leaflet number
    0
    Leaflet petiolules
    NA
    Leaves per node
    there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipels
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    • aquatic
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    Specific habitat
    • brackish or salt marshes and flats
    • intertidal, subtidal or open ocean
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles so that it is roughly circular
    Hairs between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    no
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Plant height
    10–80 cm
    Stem roughness between nodes
    the stem does not feel rough
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
historical (S-rank: SH), special concern, extirpated (code: SC*)
Maine
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), threatened (code: T)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR), #NAME? (code: #NAME?)
New Hampshire
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)

var. humile

Massachusetts
not applicable (S-rank: SNA)

var. rubrum

Maine
historical (S-rank: SH), potentially extirpated (code: PE)
Massachusetts
widespread (S-rank: S5)

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Family

Amaranthaceae

Genus

Chenopodium

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

12.  Chenopodium rubrum L. n

red goosefoot.  12a. Chenopodium humile Hook. • CT, MA, ME, NH. Saline marshes; ditches and other disturbed sites in var. humile.

1a.  Mature achenes 0.8–1 mm in diameter; sepals somewhat fleshy; inflorescence consisting of axillary glomerules; plants spreading-ascending, 3–18 (–25) cm tall; lower leaves subentire or nearly so, the blade 0.7–3 cm long … 12a. C. rubrum var. humile (Hook.) S. Wats.

1b.  Mature achenes 0.5–0.6 mm in diameter; sepals herbaceous; inflorescence consisting, at least in part, of leafy-bracted spikes; plants erect, 30–60 (–80) cm tall; blades of lower leaves toothed, up to 15 cm long … 12b. C. rubrum var. rubrum

Variety humile is non-native and known from MA, ME. Variety rubrum is native and known from CT, MA, ME, NH; also reported from RI by George (1992), but specimens are unknown.