Large-calyxed Goosefoot

Chenopodium berlandieri var. macrocalycium (Aellen) Cronq.

Plant, fruit and seed.
Anthony Salazar

Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth Family)
State Protection
Listed as Endangered by New York State: in imminent danger of extirpation in New York. For animals, taking, importation, transportation, or possession is prohibited, except under license or permit. For plants, removal or damage without the consent of the landowner is prohibited.
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Critically Imperiled or Imperiled in New York - Especially or very vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to rarity or other factors; typically 20 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or steep declines. More information is needed to assign either S1 or S2.
Global Conservation Status Rank
Apparently Secure globally - The subspecies/variety is uncommon in the world but not rare; usually widespread, but may be rare in some parts of its range; possibly some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors. (The species as a whole is common globally.)


Did you know?

The species was named after Jean-Louis Berlandier, an early nineteenth century French botanist who made many plant collections from northern Mexico and Texas (Wikipedia contributors). It was named after him in 1840 by Alfred Moquin-Tandon, another French botanist of the same time period.

State Ranking Justification

There are four existing populations that are restricted to the small area of Fishers Island in Long Island Sound but the number of plants is presently unknown. There are 19 additional collections from the New York City and Long Island area known from the late 1800s and early 1900s that have not been resurveyed. Those from western Long Island and around New York City are probably extirpated.

Short-term Trends

Short-term trend is unknown because the populations found in 1990 have not been resurveyed.

Long-term Trends

Even though many old records have not been rechecked those from the Western Long Island and New York City areas are probably extirpated.

Conservation and Management


Existing populations are not protected and may be under threat by users of the site. It is unknown if these saltmarshes are threatened by Phragmites.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

Control Phragmites invasions in the salt marshes where it exists and prevent new incursions. Natural buffers should be established around the salt marshes to decrease pollution runoff and other direct human disturbances.

Research Needs

Research is needed to compare the habitat characteristics of existing populations to the habitat of old records to see if similar conditions exist where plants could be found. We would like to know if plants are primarily found in natural conditions or in weedy areas.



In New York Large Calyx Goosefoot has been most often found on rocky ocean beaches, and occasionally on adjacent pond shores, salt marshes and shrub thickets (New York Natural Heritage Program 2010). Coastal sands, beaches (FNA 2003).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Coastal plain pond* (guide)
    The aquatic community of the permanently flooded portion of a coastal plain pond with seasonally, and annually fluctuating water levels. These are shallow, groundwater-fed ponds that occur in kettle-holes or shallow depressions in the outwash plains south of the terminal moraines of Long Island, and New England. A series of coastal plain ponds are often hydrologically connected, either by groundwater, or sometimes by surface flow in a small coastal plain stream.
  • High salt marsh* (guide)
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide up to the limit of spring tides. It is periodically flooded by spring tides and flood tides. High salt marshes typically consist of a mosaic of patches that are mostly dominated by a single graminoid species.
  • Low salt marsh* (guide)
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide down to mean sea level or to about 2 m (6 ft) below mean high tide. It is regularly flooded by semidiurnal tides. The mean tidal range of low salt marshes on Long Island is about 80 cm, and they often form in basins with a depth of 1.6 m or greater.
  • Marine intertidal gravel/sand beach (guide)
    A community washed by rough, high-energy waves, with sand or gravel substrates that are well-drained at low tide. These areas are subject to high fluctuations in salinity and moisture. A relatively low diversity community, it is perhaps best characterized by the benthic invertebrate fauna including polychaetes, and amphipods.
  • Salt shrub* (guide)
    A shrubland community that forms the ecotone between salt marsh and upland vegetation. Salinity levels are generally lower here than in the salt marsh (soil pore salinity ranges 7 ppt to 27 ppt), and the elevation is higher. Salt shrub does not usually develop on deep peat. More often, it occurs on a thin (0-10 cm) layer of peat, and soils share characteristics of both estuarine and maritime terrestrial settings.

* probable association but not confirmed.


New York State Distribution

The species was historically found in all counties on Long Island, Staten Island, and north to the Bronx. It is currently known only on Fishers Island in Suffolk County.

Global Distribution

This herb is most common in eastern states from South Carolina north to New York and Massachusetts. There are disjunct populations in Indiana and Nova Scotia while it is considered exotic in New Brunswick.

Identification Comments

General Description

Large Calyx Goosefoot is an annual, erect herb usually less than 50 cm tall. The leaves are lance-shaped and 1 to 6 cm long, the lower halves with a few teeth or lobes. The infloresence is an erect spike with leafy bracts and many small greenish (turning reddish) flowers. The seeds are 1.3 to1.9 mm in diameter, brown or black, and with pitted surfaces.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

Specimens with fruit are best for identification.

Similar Species

Chenopodium album is similar to C. berlandieri, but it seeds have a smooth surface and are not pitted/roughened like that of C. berlandieri. Two other varieties of C. berlandieri are found in New York; the more widespread and common C. berlandieri var. bushianum differs by having a drooping infloresence, and the rare (and not known from New York beaches) C. berlandieri boscianum has pericarps with a light yellow area around the style and seeds 1 to 1.3 mm in diameter (C. berlandieri var. macrocalycium has black pericarps and seeds 1.3 to 1.9 mm) (FNA 2003, Gleason and Cronquist 1991).

Best Time to See

Large Calyx Goosefoot flowers in July and August and the fruits, needed for identification, mature in September.

  • Flowering
  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find Large-calyxed Goosefoot flowering and fruiting in New York.

Large-calyxed Goosefoot Images


Large-calyxed Goosefoot
Chenopodium berlandieri var. macrocalycium (Aellen) Cronq.

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
        • Order Caryophyllales
          • Family Amaranthaceae (Amaranth Family)

Additional Common Names

  • Large Calyx Goosefoot
  • Pigweed


  • Chenopodium macrocalycium Aellen

Additional Resources

Best Identification Reference

Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2003. Flora of North America North of Mexico, Volume 4, Magnoliophyta: Caryophyllidae, Part 1. Oxford University Press, New York.

Other References

Clemants, Steven E. 1992. Chenopodiaceae and Amaranthaceae of New York State. Bulletin No. 485. New York State Museum. Albany, NY.

Fernald, M. L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. Corrected printing (1970). D. Van Nostrand Company, New York. 1632 pp.

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Mitchell, Richard S. and Gordon C. Tucker. 1997. Revised Checklist of New York State Plants. Contributions to a Flora of New York State. Checklist IV. Bulletin No. 490. New York State Museum. Albany, NY. 400 pp.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research University of South Florida]. New York Flora Association, Albany, New York


About This Guide

This guide was authored by: Stephen M. Young

Information for this guide was last updated on: September 20, 2012

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. Online Conservation Guide for Chenopodium berlandieri var. macrocalycium. Available from: Accessed April 17, 2024.