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Nevada Goosefoot

Scientific Name:
Chenopodium nevadense
Family:
Native Name(s):
  1. Northern Paiute: üyü'p (Kelly 1932); üapa (Fowler 1989); əpə (Fowler 1989)
Description:

Plant

Chenopodium nevadense is an annual herb that grows 15 to 40 cm tall. It has many distally arranged branches that are forked in pairs. The leaves may be ovate, diamond, or elliptic or 2-lobed in shape. The calyx lobes of the greenish, minute flowers are ovate and enclose the fruit. The fruit walls are minutely papillate (small projections). The seeds are black and small, usually less than 0.8 mm in size. This species blooms from June to August.

Identification Tip

Chenopodium nevadense is found only in the western United States and is smaller than its close relative Chenopodium album that is distributed across North America.

Starch Granules

The species produces very small starch granules, ranging from 1 to 2 microns in length. Singular granules are spheroid in shape, with centric hila. Margins are smooth. However, granules are often found in dense clusters of amyoplasts (sheets) bounded by cell walls. Staining is often necessary to identify these starches. 

Habitat:

This species grows at from 1400 to 2000 m in elevation.

Distribution:

Chenopodium nevadense grows in California, Nevada and Oregon. 

Ethnography:

Chenopodium nevadense was used by the Northern Paiute. Stalks were dried and the seeds beaten off them. The seeds were then parched, ground into meal and consumed.

As food

Northern Paiute: "Edible seeds included...wa˙'ta' (Chenopodium album L.); üyü'p (Chenopodium nevadense Standley)..." (Kelly 1932: 98)

Northern Paiute: "[In regards to the seeds of üapa (pigweed, Chenopodium nevadense)] əpə grows as tall as a man.  The stem spreads out about half way up.  The leaves are at the bottom of the main stem.  They are small elliptical shaped.  The seeds grow on the stems.  This plant grows on burnt places. People go up in the mountains and burn the brush.  The next spring they go back and harvest the seeds from the plants that have grown in burnt places." (Fowler 1989:48)

Northern Paiute: "[In regards to the seeds of üapa (pigweed, Chenopodium nevadense)] üapa is grey, grows very tall, about a man's height at times.  It has a brown stalk, leaves keep on spreading out, does not blossom.  Seeds are in a cluster and it has a very salty taste.  Stalks are broken off and dried, beaten into a basket."(Fowler 1989:48)

Distribution Map: