AMBROSIA Chenopodiaceae Chenopodium botrys & other species (Jerusalem Oak, Feather Geranium, Oak-Leaf Geranium, Goosefoot)
HABITAT: Native to Europe, Asia, N. Africa, N. America. Annuals & perennials as per species below.
USES: Cuts for flower arrangements, borders, pot herb, culinary.
HABIT: 1-1/2' annual herb with miniature oak-like leaves often hidden by 2' feathery sprays of yellowish-green, minute, petal-less blossoms in July. The leaves are reddish before turning light green and the grooved stems and green blossoms are covered with a sticky substance. The entire plant is intensely fragrant. Other species as given below vary in plant habits, leaf, and flower description.
SEED GERMINATION AND CULTURE: For best results, sow indoors covering seed lightly in shallow rows of moist Park's Grow Mix. Place in warm location, 70-75°F., out of direct sunlight. Seed may also be sown outdoors in early spring in a rich, well-dug soil with excellent drainage. Barely cover seed and keep moist during the germination period. Thin when 2" high to 12" apart. Plant in sun and keep watered and cultivated. C. bonus-henricus is used both shoots as asparagus and leaves as spinach.
SPECIES: C. album (Lambs Quarters, Pigweed) 10'. Annual. Somewhat triangular 4" leaves with whitish undersides. Small flower clusters in leaf axils. Sometimes eaten as asparagus. Europe, Asia, N. America. A weed.
C. ambrosioides (American Wormseed) 3-1/2'. Annual or perennial with alternate leaves, lance-shaped, 5" long an aromatic. Small greenish flowers in panicles, July-September.
C. bonus-henricus (Good King Henry Goosefoot, Mercury) 2-1/2'. Zone 5. Arrow-shaped alternate 3" leaves. Small greenish clusters, June-August. Often used like spinach. Europe.
C. botrys. See habit above.
C. capitatum (Strawberry Blite, Blite Goosefoot) 1-1/2'. Annual. Somewhat triangular leaves. Red mulberry-like fruit. Sow seed in fall to flower following summer. Europe.
C. glaucum (Oak-Leaved Goosefoot) 1'. Annual. Prostrate weed, with alternate, coarsely-toothed leaves with whitish undersides. Small flowers in dense panicles in the leaf axils. Europe.
INSECTS: Not generally a problem.
DISEASES: Not generally a problem.