Fat Hen

Chenopodium album

About

Fat Hen is a common plant that grows in gardens, roadside verges, hedgerows, arable fields and many other habitats - it is so frequent it is often considered to be a weed. Spikes of whitish flowers appear from June to October and the seeds are popular food for farmland birds such as Yellowhammer, Greenfinch and Linnet.

How to identify

Fat Hen is an upright plant with matt green, diamond-shaped leaves and spikes of small, white flowers. The whole plant tends to be covered in a white, mealy substance.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

After the Second World War, agricultural production intensified and herbicides became widespread, driving many of our so-called 'weed' species out of the fields. But the loss of these plants, the increasing use of pesticides and the loss of many landscapes features like hedgerows has resulted in a 50% decline in farmland birds over the last 40 years. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with farmers and landowners to promote wildlife-friendly practices to help farmland birds, such as leaving winter stubble and providing field margins. We are working towards a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Fat Hen
Latin name
Chenopodium album
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 1m
Conservation status
Common.