Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Chenopodium ficifolium, Fig-Leaf Goosefoot

Flowers of Fig-Leaf Goosefoot grow in spikes and panicles. Chenopodium ficifolium Stems of Fig-Leafed Goosefoot are both angular and striped with greenish lines. Chenopodium ficifolium Leaves are green with variable leaf shapes from ovate, triangular, or elongate. Mid-section leaves are 3 dentate lobed. Chenopodium ficifolium Flowers are mostly inconspicuous but generally greenish white, each with 5 tepals. Flowers are wind pollinated, fruiting summer and fall. Chenopodium ficifolium Very little information available about specific characteristics of Chenopodium ficifolium in North America. Chenopodium ficifolium

Scientific Name: Chenopodium ficifolium
Common Name: Fig-Leaf Goosefoot

Also Called: Figleaf Goosefoot, Fig-leaved Goosefoot, Fig-leaved Lamb's-quarters

Family: Chenopodiaceae, Goosefoot Family (now as sub-family Chenopodioideae in the Amaranthaceae Family).

Synonyms:Chenopodium serotinum

Status: Introduced from Europe.

Duration: Annual

Size: Up to 3 feet (.9 m)

Growth Form: Plants erect, stems angular and with greenish stripes, mostly smooth or glabrous or sparsely or covered with meal-like particles (farinose).

Leaves: Green; leaves alternate, leaf shape variable, ovate, triangular or elongate, mid-leaves 3 dentate lobes,, upper-leaves narrower, or with smooth edges; leaves typically with short (1 to 2 cm long) stems (petiolate); leaves non-aromatic.

Flower Color: Whitish-green; flowers with 5 tepals, flowering stalk a spike, form a panicle, flowers bisexual, wind pollinated; fruiting summer and fall.

Flowering Season: July to September

Elevation: Up to 1,000 feet (304 m)

Habitat Preferences: Prefers disturbed areas, alkaline soils but it will also thrive in rich, composted soils as with as soils with good drainage.

Recorded Range: Erratic distribution across the United States; AZ, FL, MO, PA and NY. Elsewhere in European, Middle East, Asian and northern African countries. It also grows in New Zealand and Australia.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Chenopodium ficifolium.

U.S. Weed Information: Unknown

Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown

Wetland Indicator: Unknown

Threatened/Endangered Information: Unknown

Genus Information: In North America there are 43 species for Chenopodium. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 165 accepted species names for the genus.

The genus Chenopodium was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778).

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 30 species of Chenopodium, California has 47 species, Nevada has 32 species, New Mexico has 36 species, Texas has 38 species, Utah has 31 species. All data approximate and subject to revision.

Comments: Very little information available about specific characteristics of Chenopodium ficifolium in North America.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see: Nettleleaf Goosefoot, Chenopodiastrum murale.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects

The genus "Chenopodium" is from the Greek word “chen” meaning goose and “pous” meaning foot or podion, “a little foot”, a reference to the shape of the leaves in some species.

The species epithet ficifolium is from the Latin root “fici” meaning ficus or fig, a reference to the fig-like shape of the leaves.

The genus Chenopodium was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778).


According to Edible Wild Food, The leaves and flowers of Fig-Leaf Goosefoot . . .“can be eaten raw or cooked although cooked is advised. Raw leaves should only be eaten in small quantities. Seeds can be roasted and eaten."”
Date Profile Completed: 10/22/2021

Stanley L. Welsh, Clifford W. Crompton & Steven E. Clemants Flora of North America; 38 Chenopodiaceae, Goosefoot Family; Chenopodium ficifolium Smith, Fl. Brit. 1: 276. 1800.Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
Wikipedia contributors. "Chenopodium ficifolium." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 Oct. 2021. Web. 21 Oct. 2021.
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet;; accessed 10/22/2021.
Edible Wild Food; accessed 10/23/2021.
Etymology:Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 10/23/2021)
IPNI (2020). International Plant Names Index. Published on the Internet, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Harvard University Herbaria & Libraries and Australian National Botanic Gardens. [Retrieved 23 October 2021].