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:
Chenopodium watsonii 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, striate, angular, farinose
Leaves: alternate, petiolate, 1 – 3 cm long, 1 – 1.5 cm wide, more or less circular, base cuneate, apex rounded or obtuse, thick to fleshy, farinose, greyish-green below, margin entire, occasionally with 1 or 2 basal teeth or lobes
Inflorescence: large glomerules in short, dense, leafy terminal or axillary spikes
Flowers: perianth ovate, densely farinose, enclosing seed at maturity; stamens 5; stigmas 2
Fruits: seeds horizontal
Other: odour of dead fish caused by amines
1 Flowers in globose heads (then in spikes); calyx fleshy and bright red in fruit, appearing berry-like
C. capitatum
1 Flowers in glomerules (then in spikes); calyx 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 farinose beneath, 2 – 3 cm long; calyx greenish; plants of saline soil
C. glaucum var. salinum
3 Leaves glabrous or nearly so beneath, 3 – 10 cm long; calyx 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 glabrous; pericarp easily separated from seed
C. subglabrum
5 Plants farinose; pericarp attached to seed
C. leptophyllum
6 Leaves linear to narrowly lanceolate, 1 – 5 times longer than wide, < 1.5 cm wide
6 Leaves rhombic to broadly lanceolate, 1 – 3 times longer than wide, usually > 1.5 cm wide
7 Calyx lobes covering seed at maturity
C. dessicatum
7 Calyx lobes not covering seed at maturity
8 Fruit an achene, pericarp attached
8 Fruit a utricle, pericarp separable
9 Leaves three times longer than broad or longer, elliptic to narrowly lanceolate
C. hians
9 Leaves 2 – 3 times longer than broad or less, narrowly oblong to rhombic
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, base truncate to cordate; seeds larger than 1.5 mm
C. simplex
11 Leaves light green, at least below, base not truncate or cordate; 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 Calyx covering fruit at maturity; fruits approximately 1 mm; plants usually less than 50 cm tall; densely farinose throughout
C. incanum
15 Calyx not covering fruit at maturity; fruits slightly larger than 1 mm (to 1.5 mm); plants commonly over 50 cm tall at full maturity; farinose on upper surface of leaves and in inflorescence
C. fremontii var. fremontii