Page author: David Giblin
Blitum capitatum
strawberry blight, Indian ink, Indian paint

Distribution: In scattered locations in Washington, chiefly east of the Cascades crest; Alaska south to California, east to the Atlantic Coast primarily in the northern half of North America.

Habitat: Weedy native of low to moderate elevations.

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Branched, glabrous annual, up to 8 dm. tall, without glands.


Leaves alternate, rather fleshy, greenish on both surfaces, the blade triangular, hastate, entire to wavy-dentate or shallowly lobed, up to 10 cm. long, reduced in the inflorescence, narrowed abruptly to a short petiole, except much longer on the basal leaves.


Flowers in axillary glomerules, the subtending leaves greatly reduced upward, becoming bractlike, then none; perianth lobes 3-5, fused less than half their length, broadly ovate to obovate, becoming deep reddish and very fleshy, shorter than the fruit; stamens as many as the perianth lobes and opposite them; styles 2, 0.4-0.6 mm. long.


Fruit strongly laterally flattened, reddish-brown.

Accepted Name:
Blitum capitatum L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 4. 1753 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Chenopodium capitatum (L.) Ambrosi [FNA4, HC]
Chenopodium capitatum (L.) Ambrosi var. capitatum [FNA4]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Blitum capitatum in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Blitum capitatum checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Blitum capitatum atlas page.

CalPhotos: Blitum capitatum photos.

USDA Plants: Blitum capitatum information.

12 photographs:
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