Fathen (Chenopodium album) is a spring germinating annual weed that is regarded as one of the most pernicious weeds in New Zealand. Very common and capable of growing up to 2 metres tall, fathen is a seriously competitive weed in all cultivated crops. Fathen is regarded as the most competitive weed in beet crops globally.
- Long, slender, oblong shape
- Apex rounded and stalked
- Oval to egg shaped
- Sugar-like crystals on new leaves
As plants mature they have an upright erect growth. Can grow up to 2 metres tall but in adverse conditions can flower as plants less than 10 cms high.
Leaves are grey-green, of variable shapes, coarsely toothed with stalks. Multiple seeds are produced prolifically on stems.
A mature plant can produce up to 20,000 seeds. Susceptible to frost so only grows through the spring and summer.