Good King Henry is in the same family as spinach, and its leaves are used in much the same way; however, its shoots are eaten like asparagus and the seeds are an edible grain.


Where you can find it?

Distribution: Circumboreal (Europe, Asia, North America)

Habitat: Mountains, from 500 to 2000 meters. Well-fertilized soils (often close to dunghills, like nettle), rich pastures, farmyards, near alpine summer houses.

When to harvest?

Plant parts can be harvested from Spring through Autumn, even after flowering.

How do I use it?

Raw Leaves – Raw leaves are bitter and contain oxalic acid and sapoins, so better cook them.

Cooked Leaves – Oxalic acid and saponins are broken down to a large extent in the cooking process. Makes a good spinach substitute. Younger leaves just need to be steamed for a few minutes. The plants are rich in Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Magnesium, Riboflavin, Niacin, Sodium, Zinc, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Pantothenic Acid, Folate etc. .

Shoots – Very popular, harvested and prepared just like asparagus (cut when about 5 inches-12 cm).

Seed – A decent supplementary grain source. Needs to be soaked overnight and rinsed to remove the saponins (soap-like chemicals) much like its relative, quinoa. Usually mixed with other flours.


Leaves frozen (lightly cooked).


By seed: Does not need stratification for germination. Established plants selfsow fairly readily.

Division: Large clumps can be divided in spring and directly replanted.

Growing conditions in your kitchen garden 

Light: Full sun to medium shade

Moisture: Medium, however it is not very drought-tolerant

pH: fairly neutral soil (5.5 – 7.5), but not very picky

Check my wild spinach recipes

Chenopodium bonus-henricus (L.) Rchb.

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