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Chenopodium pallidicaule - Aellen.

Common Name Cañihua
Family Chenopodiaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards The leaves and seeds of all members of this genus are more or less edible. However, many of the species in this genus contain saponins, though usually in quantities too small to do any harm. Although toxic, saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without any problem. They are also broken down to a large extent in the cooking process. Saponins are found in many foods, such as some beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K]. The plants also contain some oxalic acid, which in large quantities can lock up some of the nutrients in the food. However, even considering this, they are very nutritious vegetables in reasonable quantities. Cooking the plants will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[238].
Habitats A common weed of cultivated ground, especially on rich soils, it grows in areas where frosts can occur in 9 months of the year, including during the growing season[196].
Range S. America - Andes.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Chenopodium pallidicaule Cañihua


Chenopodium pallidicaule Cañihua

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Chenopodium pallidicaule is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to October, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Wind. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid, very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Synonyms

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Drink.

Leaves - cooked and used like spinach[196]. The raw leaves should only be eaten in small quantities, see the notes above on toxicity. Young leaves contain up to 30% protein (dry weight)[196]. Seed - cooked[57, 61, 97, 105, 177]. It can be toasted and ground into a nutty tasting powder that can be used as a breakfast cereal. It can also be used to make biscuits, mixed with flour it is used to make bread and a hot beverage similar to hot chocolate can also be made from it[183, 196]. Very small, about 1mm in diameter, but abundantly produced[196]. The seed contains little or no saponins and so can be used without pre-treatment[196]. The seed is extremely nutritious, it contains about 16% of a high quality protein (it is notably rich in lysine, isoleucine and tryptophan), almost 60% carbohydrate and 8% fat[196].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



None known

Other Uses

Dye.

Gold/green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant[168].

Cultivation details

Succeeds on most soils, including shallow soils, but dislikes shade[196, 200]. Prefers a moderately fertile soil[200]. Once the plant is about 5cm tall it is very drought tolerant[196]. The plant has short stout stems and resists wind and heavy rain[196]. It is also more resistant than barley or quinoa to low night temperatures[196]. Plants do not like excess humidity[196]. They tolerate a pH in the range from 4.8 to 8.5 and shows some salt tolerance[196]. Adult plants are unaffected by night frosts in the growing season, the seed can germinate at a soil temperature of 5°c, whilst the plant will flower at 10°c and ripen its seed at 15°c[196]. Cañihua was once often cultivated for its edible seed in S. America[183], though it is seldom grown now[264]. There are some named varieties[61, 196]. The seed is somewhat laborious to harvest and dehusk, it is enveloped in a papery husk and this is removed by soaking in water and then rubbing[196]. Most varieties take about 150 days from seed sowing to harvest, but at least one quick-maturing type can be harvested in 95 days[196]. Yields of 2.4 tonnes per hectare are average, but twice this has been recorded[196]. Plants seem to be quite resistant to most pests and diseases[196]. The flowers are closed at fertility and so seem to be almost exclusively self-pollinating[196]. Plants are day-length neutral and have matured crops as far north as latitude 64°north in Finland[196]. Although used in much the same way, this species is not very closely related to quinoa, C. quinoa[196].

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in situ. Most of the seed usually germinates within a few days of sowing.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Chenopodium botrysJerusalem Oak, Jerusalem oak goosefoot22
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Chenopodium quinoaQuinoa, Goosefoot, Pigweed, Inca Wheat50
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Author

Aellen.

Botanical References

Links / References

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Readers comment

mark swiedom   Fri Sep 7 2007

looking for seeds for this species. any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks, mark

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Subject : Chenopodium pallidicaule  
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