If you’ve ever been out working in your backyard and seen weeds with triangular leaves sprouting up in your lawn or garden, you probably started wondering what they were. If you’ve had this happen, you may have been looking at lambsquarters.
Despite its name, there’s nothing lamb-like about Lambsquarters. In fact, this weed is more of a pest than anything else. But if you’re curious to know what it looks like, keep reading. This article will tell you everything you need to know about Lambsquarters, from identifying it to getting rid of it for good.
So, what does Lambsquarters look like? Come with us and find out!
What is Lambsquarters?
Lamb’s Quarters is a name used to describe several Chenopodium weeds, including Chenopodium album and Chenopodium berlandieri. The former is the most widespread weed in terms of global expansion, though the latter is native to North America and so may be more common in the United States.
However, because these two varieties are so alike, look very similar, and may even cross-breed with one another, we may reasonably consider them to be the same plant. They cause the same lawn and garden problems and can frequently be handled in the same way.
Lambsquarters is also sometimes called Melde, Goosefoot, or Fat Hen, and there is a subspecies known as Pitseed Goosefoot. It’s an edible weed, and is served in many areas of the world, both cooked and raw, to feed people and livestock. It is known as bathua in India and is frequently used in cuisine. It has also been used to make wall plaster.
Where Does Lambsquarters Grow?
Lambsquarters is a fast-growing weed that may grow to be almost 10 feet tall when it first grows upright. Once it blooms, on the other hand, the leaves, flowers, and seeds weigh it down and cause it to droop. It is often found in waste spaces, and it flourishes in nitrogen-rich soils. It reproduces via seed.
Lambsquarters is one of the most durable and competitive weeds, and the Chenopodium family it belongs to is seen as a major weed problem for agriculture in the United States and across the globe. It is often resistant to herbicides, making it nearly impossible to permanently eliminate.
How to Identify Lambsquarters
Identifying what weeds look like is the first stage in eliminating them. You don’t want to pull up other plants while trying to eliminate weeds. Here are what to look for if you think you have Lambsquarters in your yard.
Lambsquarters, a weed with stiff and straggly stems, can reach up to ten feet in height. The flowers of lambsquarters are somewhere between white and light-green, and resembles little buds along the weed’s stalks. From a distance, this plant appears dusty because the leaves are coated with a white powder.
Arrow-shaped leaves reside at the top of the stems, and these are un-wettable, mealy, and waxy, and have a light white or grey sheen all over them, as though they’d been sprayed by spray paint. The foliage growing closer to the ground is toothlike and shaped roughly like a diamond.
Between May and November is when its flowers bloom. Lambsquarters flowers are tiny, greenish, densely packed together into small, thick, granular clusters along the main stem and upper branches. They include five green sepals but no petals.
Other Unique Traits
The leaves, flowers, seeds, and shoots of Lambsquarters are edible. They contain some oxalic acid, so it’s recommended in small quantities if you eat it raw, but cooking eliminates any danger with the acid.
Lambsquarters, like many herbaceous plants, may be eaten fresh in salads or used as a vegetable additive to smoothies and juices, and it may also be cooked by steaming it, or it can be used in stews, sautés, and other dishes.
Plants That Look Like Lambsquarters
Lambsquarters is a weed that is included in the goosefoot family, which is a subfamily of the amaranth family. Some plants in this group appear to be identical, and look-alikes include black nightshade and certain amaranth species like Pigweed and other Goosefoot types.
Although they somewhat look alike, lambsquarters and black nightshade are mostly different plants. Lambsquarters leaves are often irregular and lopsided, while those of black nightshade are more typically egg-shaped with smooth or wavy edges. Some leaves may have sparsely toothed margins, but they do not occur as regularly as lambsquarters leaves. Furthermore, the petioles (leaf stems) of black nightshade are “winged,” which implies that a small section of leaf extends down the stem.
Pigweed is a much more closely-related weed to lambsquarters than black nightshade. It can also grow very tall, and has long leaves and flower clusters, with the ones high up the stem being lance-shaped and those low down on the stem being more like a diamond or oval in shape.
However, the stems of pigweed are what make it distinguishable from lambsquarters. Pigweed stems are slightly reddish in addition to green in color, and they become more red near the roots and are covered in rough, short hair.
How to Get Rid of Lambsquarters
Lambsquarters is difficult to totally remove from your yard, but it is feasible to significantly decrease its presence. If the lambsquarters in your yard is only infesting a tiny area, and has not yet spread throughout, then simply pulling it out may often be enough. Make sure you remove as much of the root as possible to avoid future regrowth.
If you find an infestation is too large to pull up yourself, consider using a herbicide. While lambsquarters are resistant to weed killers, this does not imply they are completely immune. Pre-emergent herbicides work best for this plant; they prevent the lambsquarter seed from germinating in the first place.
Some other non-herbicide ways to get rid of lambsquarters is through dark tillage, rotary hoeing, or even a controlled burning when the weed is young and tiny to eliminate lambquarters.
So, you now hopefully know all about Lambsquarters, including what it looks like and how to visually identify it, where it grows, and how you can get rid of it if necessary.
Now it is up to you to remove it from your yard, so you can get back to relaxing and enjoying your back garden for the spring and summer time! If you’re still not sure whether or not you’re looking at a patch of lambsquarters, take a picture and send it to us for identification. We’d love to help you learn more about the plants around you! Thanks for reading, and happy gardening!