|Close-up of Chenopodium giganteum (Goosefoot/Magenta Spreen)|
Chenopodium giganteum (Magenta Spreen, Purple Goosefoot, Giant Lambsquarters) is a very large annual leafy vegetable that grows over 8 feet tall. It is also known as Tree Spinach (not to be confused with Chaya), though native to mountainous regions of India, it is easily cultivated in the UK and other areas, and may be sold under the name Tree Spinach.
It is a leafy green which tastes very much like chard or spinach with a hint of asparagus when cooked. The best-tasting parts of the plant are the tender growing tips, which can be harvested continuously, the plant becoming bushy. Since the plant contains oxalic acid, it should be cooked in a steel pan, not in aluminum. This plant, a relative of quinoa, has edible seeds which can be cooked or ground into flour. The plant contains good amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, and calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as saponins, which may have health benefits.
The plant grows particularly well in full sun or partial shade. If a sufficient number of seeds are sown, it makes high quality green manure. It is resistant to many pests and is easy to grow. The leaves are triangular and green, apart from the leaves at the growing tips of the plant which are magenta-tipped and covered in a fine iridescent magenta dust.
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- "Eat Your Weeds:Magenta Spreen". Retrieved 2010-07-07.
- "Chenopodium giganteum". Retrieved 2010-11-03.
- Lipkin, Richard (1995). "Saponins and Your Health: One of Nature's Protective Phytochemicals". Science News. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
- "Vegemania: scientists tout the health benefits of saponins - disease-fighting nutrient in vegetables and legumes". Retrieved 2010-07-07.
The use of spreen as magentaspreen lambsquarters was applied to Chenopodium giganteum by Al Kapuler after he grew it from seeds provided by a french botanical garden. The term spreen was created by Lindsay Bradshaw for the new growths of plants during springtime and is an condensation of green spring hence the term spreen to replace 'shoot' since Al Kapuler and Lindsay Bradshaw wanted a word to celebrate the new growths of springtime to replace the incorrect and misconstrued term 'shoot' which implies killing, not the new growths of life.