This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This common waste-land species is another Arctic species not found in early deposits. It is found to-day in Arctic Europe and Temperate Asia, and is introduced in North America. It is found in every district in Great Britain as far north as the Shetlands, up to 1000 ft. in Yorkshire, and is found in the Channel Islands, and in Ireland.
All the Goosefoots except the maritime species are found on cultivated ground, and to this All-good is no exception. It is common in gardens, allotments, on building ground, manure heaps, and in cultivated fields throughout the country, exhibiting numerous forms and intermediates which are an interesting but difficult puzzle to the beginner.
The stems are erect, from a woody base, much branched, with spreading" branches, which are smooth or with rounded hairs, veined, and angular. The leaves are flat, egg-shaped, or rhomboidal or triangular at the base, with few, blunt teeth, the upper ones entire, narrow; and the name Goosefoot refers generally (as a translation of the first Greek name) to the shape of the leaves, the second name referring to the general mealy, whitish colour of some forms of it. There are alternate bands of colour. At night the young leaves become erect.
The flowers are green-ish-yellow, in compound branched racemes, with or without leaves, 5-merous, apetalous, without a corolla. The fruits are smooth, nearly kidney-shaped, larger than the calyx, and enclosed by the segments.
This plant is 2-4 ft. high. The flowers are in bloom between July and September. It is an annual and propagated by seeds. The stigma ripens first, and there is honey. The flowers are anemo-philous, pollen being transferred by the wind, the plant growing in colonies making this effective. It is also visited by pollen-eating Syrphidae, Melanostoma mellina. The fruit is a utricle which falls when ripe around the plant, and being enclosed in a membranous calyx it may be partially wind-dispersed. All-good is largely a sand-loving plant growing on sand soil.
Photo. B. Hanley - All-good (Chenopodium Album, L.)
A fungus, Peronospora effusa, attacks All-good. A beetle. Cassida nobilis; a Hymenopterous insect, Taxonus glabratus; several Lepi-doptera, Dog's Tooth (Mamestra suasa), the Nutmeg (M. chenopodii), Orache Moth (Hadena atriplicis), Dark Spinach (Eubolia comitata), Plain Pug (Eupithecia subnotata), Pterophorus pterodactylus, Gelechia atriplicella, Obscure Wainscot (G. obsoletella), G. naeviferella, G. hcr-mannella, Butalis chenopodiella, Coleophora annulatella, Heliodines rossella, Idaea straminata, feed on it.
Chenopodium, Pliny, is from the Greek chen, goose, and pous, foot, because the leaves are like a goose's foot. The second Latin name refers to the white appearance, due to a mealy tomentum.
This well-known plant is known by several common names, such as Biacon-weed, Dirtweed, Dirty Dick, Drought-weed, Fat Hen, Frostbite, Hen-fat, Lamb's-quarters, Lamb's-tongue, Mails, Melgs, Midden. Myles or Milies, Milds or Miles, Muck-weed, Mutton-tops, Rag Jag, Wild Spinach. It was called Biacon-weed or Bacon Weed, because it denotes rich, fat land, and Dirtweed, Dirty Dick, etc., because it grows on manure heaps. It is sold in May by the countrywomen in Ireland by the name of Lamb's-quarters. "Boil Myles in water and chop them with butter, and you will have a good dish" is an old saying. The name Mutton-tops refers to the young tops or shoots. It was boiled and eaten like greens, and eaten as a pot-herb in Scotland.
Essential Specific Characters:264. Chenopodium album, L. - Stem tall, erect, branched, leaves ovate, upper lanceolate, toothed, base triangular, flowers in distant clustered spikes, seeds smooth.