|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, potassium, and saponins.
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.