Flora Italiana

Flora Italiana

Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot Family)
State Protection
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Global Conservation Status Rank


Did you know?

This is a widespread, variable species occurring in much of the United States (except the Southeast) and in Europe and Asia. It was first collected in New York by George W. Clinton of the Buffalo herbarium on a visit to Staten Island in 1874.

State Ranking Justification

There are nine existing populations but phragmites may be crowding out plants in some locations. There are 14 historical occurrences, mostly from the early 1900s, and most of these probably did not persist.

Short-term Trends

Most of the existing populations have not been surveyed more than once but the 2 populations that have been resurveyed again have not been found because of the dominance of Phragmites in their habitat.

Long-term Trends

Over the long term there has been a substantial decline in this species as saltmarshes and swales have been ditched, developed, or taken over by Phragmites.

Conservation and Management


There is a substantial threat from the spread of Phragmites into interdunal swales and saltmarshes where this species grows.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

The primary need is to keep Phragmites from invading its habitat. Management needs should be adjusted as new information is obtained from research projects.

Research Needs

Research is needed to develop management techniques that will allow this species to persist and grow. Studies should be done to understand how human manipulation of beaches and saltmarshes affect this species.



In New York, Red Pigweed has been found along the coast in wet interdunal swales, stony beaches, and the shores of coastal ponds, as well as amongst ship ballast and waste places (New York Natural Heritage Program 2010). Salt marshes (Clemants 1992). Salt marshes and brackish soil (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). Waste ground, shores, and river banks (Voss 1985).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Brackish interdunal swales* (guide)
  • Coastal plain pond shore* (guide)
  • Coastal salt pond* (guide)
  • Dredge spoil wetland*
  • Marine dredge spoil shore*
  • Marine intertidal gravel/sand beach
  • Maritime freshwater interdunal swales* (guide)

Associated Species

  • Amaranthus pumilus (sea-beach amaranth, coast amaranth)
  • Cakile edentula
  • Polygonum glaucum (sea-beach knotweed)


New York State Distribution

This species is mainly restricted to the saline areas of Long Island and the extreme southern Hudson Valley. It is also historically known from the inland salt ponds of Onondaga County. Scattered additional historical records from waste ground in non-saline soils are also reported.

Global Distribution

This small herb occurs in the Northeast United States and northeastern Canada where it is rare. It is scattered throughout the northern Midwest, becoming common from the Dakotas south to New Mexico and out to the West Coast. It is also common from central Canada west to Alaska.

Best Places to See

  • Cedar Beach Park (Suffolk County)
  • Short Beach, Jones Beach State Park (Suffolk County)

Identification Comments

General Description

Red pigweed is an annual herb up to 80 cm tall with glabrous, angled stems. The leaves are triangular or rhomboid, deeply toothed, and up to 15 cm long. The infloresence consists of many small (5 mm thick) glomerules in axillary spikes, or in larger plants, in terminal panicles. The tiny green flowers have 3 or 4 sepals, 0.8 to 1 mm long and joined at the base. The seeds are held erect, and are shiny, smooth, brown, and 0.6 to 1 mm wide (FNA 2003, Gleason and Cronquist 1991).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

Entire plants with flowers or fruit are needed for identification.

Similar Species

In New York there are 3 other species of Chenopodium which are thornless and have non-glandular foliage and erect seeds. Chenopodium glaucum has leaves that are densely white-mealy on the undersides. Chenopodium capitatum has fewer, much larger glomerules (5-15 mm thick) than those of C. rubrum. Chenopodium bonus-henricus, a European introduction, is a perennial species with entire leaves and flowers with 4 to 5 sepals (FNA 2003, Gleason and Cronquist 1991).

Best Time to See

Red Pigweed flowers from mid-May to early September and the fruits persist on the plants into October.

  • Flowering
  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find Red Pigweed flowering and fruiting in New York.

Red Pigweed Images


Red Pigweed
Oxybasis rubra var. rubra (Linnaeus) S. Fuentes, Uotila & Borsch

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
        • Order Caryophyllales
          • Family Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot Family)

Additional Common Names

  • Red Goosefoot
  • Coast-blite


  • Chenopodium chenopodioides (L.) Aellen
  • Chenopodium rubrum L.
  • Chenopodium rubrum var. rubrum

Comments on the Classification

The native status of this species is often questioned.

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. 2019. 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 http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/, 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. 2019. Online Conservation Guide for Oxybasis rubra var. rubra. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/red-pigweed/. Accessed March 22, 2019.

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