Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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fat hen Chenopodium album, also known as lamb’s quarters and white goosefoot, a plant of the goosefoot family whose young leaves make an acceptable green vegetable.

This plant thrives on muck heaps, and remains of it have been found in neolithic middens; many of the local common names used in England reflect this, e.g. dungweed, muckweed, and dirty dick. The name ‘fat hen’ seems to have been given because barnyard hens could grow fat by eating this plant; and the French name grasse poulette matches the English one.