This interesting perennial is in the amaranth family, Chenopodiaceae, and like other species in that family, it is considered an "ethnobotanical," a plant with many uses for native peoples. Like its relative, the well-known wild green called lambs-quarters, it was boiled to eat as a green. The root was used to make soap and shampoo. The seeds were toasted and used to make pinole. Here, its relationship to quinoa is evident.
It grows from 1-3' tall with either sprawling or upright stems, depending on the amount of sun. The leaves are lobed with sharp points and triangular, hence "goosefoot."
The flowers are spherical clusters with reddish seed-coverings. California goosefoot grows in a number of different habitats, from the desert to the mountains, from grassland to chaparral.