Chenopodium watsonii A. Nels.
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Family: Chenopodiaceae
Genus: Chenopodium
Species Synonyms: Chenopodium olidum S. Wats., non W. Curtis
Chenopodium glabrescens (Aellen) H.A. Wahl
Chenopodium dacoticum Standl.
Common Names: Watson’s goosefoot
Canada: southeastern Alberta – southwestern Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan: southwestern Saskatchewan; upper South Saskatchewan River – Frenchman River Valley
Ecoregion: Mixed Grassland, Moist Mixed Grassland
Saskatchewan: silty or clayey soil in eroded valley buttons or benches and badlands
Provincial Status According
to Harms (2003):
Nature Conservancy Status:
G5 N2 S2
Saskatchewan Species at
Risk Status:
Watson’s goosefoot is vulnerable in Saskatchewan because it is rare or uncommon and is regionally restricted. Plants are usually locally numerous within a population but are limited in area. This plant occurs in areas where it may be subject to the effects of human development and is at the northern extent of its range.
Height: 2 – 20 cm
Roots: taproot
Stems: annual, erect to ascending, simple to branched, grooved, angular, mealy
Leaves: alternate, stalked, 1 – 3 cm long, 1 – 1.5 cm wide, more or less circular, base wedge-shaped, tip rounded or obtuse, thick to fleshy, mealy, greyish- green below, margin entire, occasionally with 1 or 2 basal teeth or lobes
Inflorescence: large head-like clusters in short, dense, leafy terminal or axillary spikes
Flowers: sepals and petals oval, densely mealy, enclosing seed at maturity; stamens 5; stigmas 2
Fruits: seeds horizontal
Other: odour of dead fish
1 Flowers in spherical heads (then in spikes); sepals fleshy and bright red in fruit, appearing berry-like
C. capitatum
1 Flowers in head-like clusters (then in spikes); sepals not fleshy and bright red in fruit, not appearing berry-like
2 Sepals 3; fruits vertical and occasionally horizontal in the same inflorescence
2 Sepals 5; fruits horizontal
3 Leaves densely white mealy beneath, 2 – 3 cm long; sepals greenish; plants of saline soil
C. glaucum var. salinum
3 Leaves hairless or nearly so beneath, 3 – 10 cm long; sepals becoming reddish with age; plants of lakeshores and dried sloughs
C. rubrum
4 Leaves with one vein from base
4 Leaves with three or more veins from base
5 Plants nearly hairless; pericarp easily separated from seed
C. subglabrum
5 Plants mealy; pericarp attached to seed
C. leptophyllum
6 Leaves linear to narrowly lance-shaped, 1 – 5 times longer than wide, < 1.5 cm wide
6 Leaves diamond-shaped to broadly lance-shaped, 1 – 3 times longer than wide, usually > 1.5 cm wide
7 Sepal lobes covering seed at maturity
C. dessicatum
7 Sepal lobes not covering seed at maturity
8 Fruit achene, pericarp attached
8 Fruit utricle, pericarp separable
9 Leaves three times longer than broad or longer, elliptic to narrowly lance-shaped
C. hians
9 Leaves 2 – 3 times longer than broad or less, narrowly oblong to diamond-shaped
C. strictum var. glaucum
10 Primary leaves with one or two lobes or teeth above base; plants erect
C. pratericola
10 Primary leaves entire or with basal lobes; plants open and branched
C. atrovirens
11 Leaves bright green, square to heart-shaped at base; seeds larger than 1.5 mm
C. simplex
11 Leaves light green, at least below, not square or heart-shaped at base; seeds smaller than 1.5 mm
12 Fruits appearing honey-combed on surface
12 Fruits appearing smooth on surface
13 Pericarp white at maturity; odour of dead fish
C. watsonii
13 Pericarp translucent at maturity; no odour of dead fish
C. berlandieri
14 Lower leaves toothed above base, never entire or with only basal lobes or teeth
C. album
14 Lower leaves entire above base, may have 1 or 2 lobes or teeth at base
15 Sepals covering fruit at maturity; fruits approximately 1 mm; plants usually less than 50 cm tall; densely mealy throughout
C. incanum
15 Sepals not covering fruit at maturity; fruits slightly larger than 1 mm (to 1.5 mm); plants commonly over 50 cm tall at full maturity; mealy on upper surface of leaves and in inflorescence
C. fremontii var. fremontii