Fat Hen

Fat Hen

Chenopodium album

Other Common Names:

Withondebossie, Hondepisbossie, Wild Goosefoot, Wild Spinach

Weed Type:

Annual Weed


Widespread annual, reaching 1m or higher

Control Methods:

Hoeing & Manual Weeding

Active Ingredient / Herbicides:

2,4-D (e.g., Turfweeder)

About this weed

Fat Henn or Wild Goosefoot, a ubiquitous weed in South African wastelands, hedgerows, and gardens, thrives like a scrappy survivor.

Its unassuming appearance – dusty green leaves and green-white clusters resembling miniature goose feathers – belies its tenacious spirit.

This annual thrives in sun-baked soil, pushing up thick shoots even amidst neglect. Goosefoot whispers its presence through a rough sandpapery touch, a reminder of its humble origins. Yet, beneath its dusty coat lies a hidden talent: its leaves, once blanched, offer a surprisingly delicate spinach-like flavour, a testament to its adaptability. Though vilified by farmers, this resourceful weed weaves itself into the tapestry of the veld, a hardy companion to sunbirds and a reminder that beauty can bloom even in the most overlooked corners.

Chenopodium album, also known as Withondebossie, Bloubossie, Hondepisbossie, Seepbossie of Varkbossie in Afrikaans and Fat Hen, White Goosefoot, and Wild Spinach in English is a fast-growing annual plant that is sometimes cultivated and sometimes considered a weed.
It is a multi-branched, erect herb that can grow up to 1.5 meters tall.
The leaves can be used fresh in salads or cooked like Spinach / Marog, and they have a cabbage-like taste.

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