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.


For Fodder Beet

For Wheat

For Apples and Grapes

For Vegetables