Slideshow image
Blitum virgatum L. (redirected from: Morocarpus foliosus)
Family: Amaranthaceae
[Chenopodium foliosum (Moench) Aschers.,  more]
Blitum virgatum image
Stems erect to ascending, branched, 1.4-6(-8) dm, glabrous. Leaves nonaromatic; petiole 0.5-6.5 cm; blade narrowly triangular, oblong-triangular, to almost deltate, 1.7-7.5(-9) × 0.8-3.5 cm, base subtruncate to broadly cuneate, often subhastate, margins coarsely laciniate-dentate or sinuate-dentate, apex acute to acuminate. Inflorescences glomerules in axils of leaflike bracts; glomerules globose, 3-8 mm diam.; bracts leaflike throughout inflorescence; flowers maturing from base to apex. Flowers: perianth segments 3(-4), connate only at base or connate into irregular lobes; lobes obovate, 0.5-0.7 × 0.3-0.7 mm, apex rounded, not keeled, glabrous, becoming red, enlarged, and fleshy in fruit; stamens usually 1; stigmas 2, 0.5 mm. Achenes ovoid; pericarp adherent, dark reddish brown, fleshy, smooth. Seeds round, 1-1.2 mm diam., margins rounded with an incised groove; seed coat dark red-brown, minutely reticulate-punctate. Fruiting summer-fall. Gravel bars, waste ground, cultivated grounds; 200-1800 m; introduced; Alta.; Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mass., N.Mex., N.Y., N.Dak., Oreg., Utah, Wash., Wis.; Eurasia; n Africa. Chenopodium foliosum is probably native to the mountains of south and central Europe and western Asia. Several closely related segregate species are currently recognized within the C. foliosum group (P. Uotila 1979, 1993, 1997). Chenopodium foliosum listed and illustrated in J. C. Hickman (1993) is in fact C. capitatum var. parvicapitatum.

Annual herb 15 cm - 0.8 m tall Stem: upright to ascending, branched. Leaves: alternate, on a 0.5 - 6.5 cm long stalk, 1.5 - 7.5 cm long, 0.8 - 3.5 cm wide, narrowly triangular to oblong triangular to nearly triangular with a nearly flat to broadly tapering base and pointed tip, irregularly toothed to wavy-toothed. Inflorescence: a small, spherical cluster of flowers (glomerule) in the axils of leaf-like bracts. Flowers: greenish, becoming red and fleshy in fruit, small, with three nearly distinct sepals and no petals. Sepal lobes 0.5 - 0.7 mm long, reverse egg-shaped with a rounded apex. Stamens usually one. Stigmas two. Fruit: one-seeded (achene), enclosed in the persistent, incurved sepals, egg-shaped, dark reddish brown, smooth, fleshy, thin-walled. Wall (pericarp) adherent to the seed. Seed dark reddish brown, 1 - 1.2 mm wide, round, round-margined with an incised groove, minutely net-veined to dotted.

Similar species: No information at this time.

Habitat and ecology: Probably introduced from Eurasia. Rare in the Chicago Region. Has been found along a road. May also be found in cultivated areas and waste ground.

Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native

Etymology: Chenopodium comes from the Greek words chen, meaning goose, and podion, meaning "little foot," referring to the leaf shape of some species. Foliosum means leafy.

Author: The Morton Arboretum