Blitum L.

(incl. Monolepis Schrad.)

Blitum, as currently understood (see Fuentes-Bazan & al. 2012, is a segregate genus of Chenopodium and counts 13 species in the Old and New World. One is native in Belgium, Blitum bonus-henricus (L.) Reichenb. (syn.: Chenopodium bonus-henricus L.). Molecular studies (Fuentes-Bazan & al. l.c.) demonstrated that species of Blitum are in fact more closely related to Spinacia than they are to the remainder of Chenopodium s.l. Blitum bonus-henricus looks rather different but is obviously closely related to B. virgatum. A hybrid between both species has been reported by Melzer (1987).

Monolepis used to be a small genus of three to five species, distributed in temperate western North America, Central and northeastern Asia and southern South America. However, Fuentes-Bazan & al. (2012) demonstrated that it is nested in Blitum. See also Sukhorukov & al. (2018).

1. Perianth segments usually 1 (or up to 3 in some flowers). Stamens 1 or 2, sometimes absent === Blitum nuttallianum

1. Perianth segments 5. Stamens usually 5 === 2

2. Perianth red and fleshy at maturity. Annual. Leaf blade variable but not as above. Stigmas short, rarely exceeding 0,8 (-1) mm === 3

2. Perianth not red and fleshy at maturity. Rhizomatous perennial. Leaf blade triangular with nearly entire margins. Stigmas elongated, up to 2 mm long (native) === B. bonus-henricus

3. Inflorescence bracteate to apex === B. virgatum

3. Inflorescence ebracteate in apical part === B. capitatum



Fuentes-Bazan S., Uotila P. & Borsch T. (2012) A novel phylogeny-based generic classification for Chenopodium sensu lato, and a tribal rearrangement of Chenopodioideae (Chenopodiaceae). Willdenowia 42(1): 5-24. [available online at:]

Melzer H. (1987) Chenopodium bonus-henricus x foliosum = Ch. x tkalcsicsii Melzer hybr. nov. - eine neue Hybride zweier sehr unterschiedlicher Arten. Berichte der Bayerischen Botanischen Gesellschaft 58: 73-77.

Sukhorukov A.P., Nilova M.V., Krinitsina A.A., Zaika M.A., Erst A.S. & Shepherd K.A. (2018) Molecular phylogenetic data and seed coat anatomy resolve the generic position of some critical Chenopodioideae (Chenopodiaceae – Amaranthaceae) with reduced perianth segments. PhytoKeys 109: 103-128. [available online at:] 

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith