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A Native Unknown Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Bathua, fat hen, lamb's quarters, white goosefoot • Adi: Jilimili • Assamese: বথুৱা শাক bathuwa shaak, জিলমিল শাক jilmil shaak • Bengali: বেথো শাক betho shaak, বেথুয়া শাক bethuya shaak • Gujarati: બથવો bathavo, ચીલની ભાજી chilani bhaji • Hindi: बथुवा bathuwa • Kannada: ಚಕ್ರವರ್ತಿ Chakravarti, ಚಕ್ಕವತ್ತ Chakkavatta, ಹುಚ್ಚುಚಕ್ಕೋತ Huchchu chakkotha • Malayalam: പരിപ്പുചീര parippuchira, വാസ്തുചീര vastuchira • Manipuri: ꯃꯣꯟꯁꯑꯥꯣꯕꯤ মোনশাওবী Monsaobi • Marathi: चाकवत chakvat, वासुकें vasukem • Nepali: बेथे bethe • Oriya: ବଥୁଆ ଶାଗ bathua sag • Punjabi: ਲੂਨਕ lunak • Sanskrit: वास्तुक vastuka • Tamil: சக்கரவர்த்தி கீரை chakravarthi keerai, பருப்புக்கீரை paruppu-k-kirai • Tangkhul: Kazingtareihan • Telugu: పప్పుకూర pappukura, వాస్తుకము vastukamu • Mizo: Kawlbuh • Angami: Therhie, Tierhietiepfu Source: Names of Plants in India
Botanical name: Chenopodium album    Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)
Synonyms: Anserina candidans, Atriplex viridis, Chenopodium album

Bathua is a fast-growing, upright, weedy annual species of goosefoot, very common in temperate regions, growing almost everywhere in soils rich in nitrogen, especially on wasteland. Its pollen can contribute to hayfever-like allergies. It tends to grow upright at first, reaching heights of 30-80 cm, but typically becomes recumbent after flowering (due to the weight of the foliage and seeds) unless supported by other plants. The opposite leaves can be very 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. The leaves are waxy-coated, unwettable and mealy in appearance, with a whitish coat on the underside. The tiny flowers are radially symmetrical and grow in small cymes on a dense branched inflorescence 10-40 cm long. Bathua can be eaten as a vegetable, either steamed in entirety, or the leaves cooked like spinach as a leaf vegetable. Each plant produces tens of thousands of black seeds. These are very nutritious, high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. As the english common name suggests, it is also a very good feed (both the leaves and the seeds) for chickens (hens) and other poultry.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Garden of Five Senses, Delhi.

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