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1.20 m


60 cm


Green, edible


Green in July and August


Green, turning bright red in October


Full sun


Does well in various types of well-drained soil



Huauzontle (Chenopodium nuttalliae)

A close relative of quinoa, huauzontle (or Aztec spinach) is a very showy vegetable plant, especially late in the season, with its long, bright red fruit spikes. The leaves, flowers and seeds of this Mexican native plant are edible and highly nutritious. The leaves have a delicate spinach-like taste, and the flowers can be cooked like broccoli. Like rice, the seeds can be cooked and eaten as a staple. They can also be ground into flour. Although some people eat huauzontle raw, it is best to cook it first, because this plant contains saponins, mildly toxic substances that are degraded by heat.

Huauzontle is very easy to grow and adapts well to different settings. It does equally well in light or heavy soil, provided a bit of compost is added to improve the drainage. Once established, this plant tolerates the occasional drought quite well. It is very easy to grow huauzontle from seeds, in pots indoors or outdoors directly in the garden.