Fat-hen - Chenopodium album

    Alternative names
    Fat Hen

    Variable, medium to tall dark green very mealy plant. Leaves variable, diamond shaped to lanceolate. Flowers tiny, green, in a leafy spike or panicle.

    Similar Species

    Other goosefoots - e.g. Fig-leaved and Maple-leaved Goosefoot.  Young orache plants can be similar.  Other alien species have been recorded in VC55 in the past; when in doubt the key in Stace (4th edn.) should be referred to.

    Fat-hen is very variable. Stace (4th edn.) lists 6 similar species which are doubtfully segregated; they may be forms or subspecies of C album.   

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Very variable in leaf shape, height, mealiness, etc. Leaves cuneate at base; lower leaves usually toothed/lobed; flowers and small branchlets mealy. 

    Recording advice

    A photograph of the whole plant


    Waste ground, arable land, gardens, manure heaps and farmyards.

    When to see it

    June to October.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Common throughout most of Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 527 of the 617 tetrads.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map