This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Annual glabrous or sparingly pubescent succulent branching herbs, with alternate hastate petioled rather light green leaves. Flowers small, green, or reddish, aggregated in globose axillary sessile heads, or the upper heads forming an interrupted spike. Calyx 2-5-lobed, becoming pulpy and bright red in fruit. Stamens 1-5. Pericarp separating from the seed. Seed vertical, shining. Embryo a complete ring in the mealy endosperm. [The classical name of orache.]
One or perhaps two species, natives of North America and Europe, the following the generic type.
Blitum capitatum L. Sp. Pl. 2. 1753.
Chenopodium capitatum Aschers. Fl. Brand. 572. 1864.
Stem ascending, erect, or prostrate, 6'-2° long, commonly much branched, the branches ascending. Leaves usually longer than wide, 1 1/2'-3' long, rather thin, sinuate-dentate, or the upper or sometimes all of them entire, cordate or reniform, the apex and basal lobes acute or acuminate; lower petioles often longer than the blades; heads sessile in the axils and on the sides of the upper part of the stem or branches, 2"-3" in diameter in flower, becoming bright red and 5"-8" in diameter in fruit, and then somewhat resembling strawberries; seed compressed, ovate, enclosed by the calyx, or when quite mature slightly exserted.