Chenopodium album is a fast-growing weedy annual plant in the genus Chenopodium. Though cultivated in some regions, the plant is elsewhere considered a weed. Common names include lamb's quarters, melde, goosefoot, manure weed, and fat-hen, though the latter two are also applied to other species of the genus Chenopodium, for which reason it is often distinguished as white goosefoot. Chenopodium album is extensively cultivated and consumed in Northern India as a food crop known as bathua.

Its native range is obscure due to extensive cultivation, but includes most of Europe, from where Linnaeus described the species in 1753. Plants native in eastern Asia are included under C. album, but often differ from European specimens. It is widely naturalized elsewhere, e.g. Africa, Australasia, North America, and Oceania, and now occurs almost everywhere (even, apparently in Antarctica) in soils rich in nitrogen, especially on wasteland.

It tends to grow upright at first, reaching heights of 10–150 cm (rarely to 3 m), but typically becomes recumbent after flowering (due to the weight of the foliage and seeds) unless supported by other plants.

The leaves are alternate and varied in appearance. The first leaves, near the base of the plant, are toothed and roughly diamond-shaped, 3–7 cm long and 3–6 cm broad. The leaves on the upper part of the flowering stems are entire and lanceolate-rhomboid, 1–5 cm long and 0.4–2 cm broad; they are waxy-coated, unwettable and mealy in appearance, with a whitish coat on the underside.

The small flowers are radially symmetrical and grow in small cymes on a dense branched inflorescence 10–40 cm long. Further, the flowers are bisexual and female, with five tepals which are mealy on outer surface, and shortly united at the base. There are five stamens.

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The leaves and young shoots may be eaten as a leaf vegetable, either steamed in its entirety, or cooked like spinach, but should be eaten in moderation due to high levels of oxalic acid. Each plant produces tens of thousands of black seeds. These are high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Quinoa, a closely related species, is grown specifically for its seeds. The Zuni people cook the young plants' greens. Bathua seeds also double up for rice and dal. Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have once relied on bathua seeds to feed his troops during lean times.

Archaeologists analyzing carbonized plant remains found in storage pits and ovens at Iron Age, Viking Age, and Roman sites in Europe have found its seeds mixed with conventional grains and even inside the stomachs of Danish bog bodies.

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