Lamb’s Quarters can grow 4 to 5 feet tall (1.2 to 1.5 metres) if undisturbed. And it’s not easy to disturb: even though it’s just an annual plant, when it’s that big above the ground, it will have really sunk its roots in below the ground as well. The plant will grow anywhere, even through cracks in the sidewalk.
The tops of the leaves are smooth; the undersides are rough and whitish. Leaves at the bottom of the plant are toothed towards the tips; upper leaves are toothless.
The plant is related to spinach, with leaves that taste like a milder version of spinach. The flowers and seeds can eaten as well. When the plants are young, the stalks are also edible, but when the plant is old, the stalks become too tough.
Each plant can produce seeds by the tens of thousands (about 70,000 per plant.) The seeds are black but covered by a dull brown husk. You have to shake the seeds and sieve them a great deal to get rid of the husks so that you can use the seeds. The seeds can be cooked as cereal, ground to a flour to mix in with other flours, or used as you would poppy seeds.
Good source vitamin A, potassium, phosphorus.
Archaeologists have identified collections of gathered Lamb’s Quarters seeds in British Bronze Age settlements (2100 – 700 BC). The Celts ate it as a vegetable, and it was still grown as a deliberate crop in Roman-occupied Britain.
Lamb’s Quarters was brought from Europe to North America as a pot herb. It escaped cultivation, to say the least.