Chenopodium quinoa0.jpg
Scientific classification e
Species:C. quinoa
Binomial name
Chenopodium quinoa
Quinoa Ursprung Verbreitung.png
Natural distribution in red, Cultivation in green
Landscape with Chenopodium quinoa near Cachilaya, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa; (ɑː/ or ə/, from Quechua kinwa or kinuwa)[2] is a flowering plant in the amaranth family. It is a herbaceous annual plant grown as a grain crop primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa is not a grass, but rather a pseudocereal botanically related to spinach and amaranth (Amaranthus spp.).

Quinoa is the only food of vegetable origin that provides all the essential amino acids, trace elements and vitamins, equating its protein quality to that of milk.[3] It is gluten-free.[3] Its grains are highly nutritious, surpassing in biological value, nutritional and functional quality to cereals, such as wheat, corn, rice and oats.[3][4] After harvest, the seeds are processed to remove the bitter-tasting outer seed coat.

Quinoa originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America,[5] and was domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago for human consumption in the Lake Titicaca basin of Peru and Bolivia, though archaeological evidence shows livestock uses 5,200 to 7,000 years ago.[6]


Quinoa seeds


Quinoa plant before flowering

Chenopodium quinoa is a dicotyledonous annual plant, usually about 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) high. It has broad, generally powdery, hairy, lobed leaves, normally arranged alternately. The woody central stem is branched or unbranched depending on the variety and may be green, red or purple. The flowering panicles arise from the top of the plant or from leaf axils along the stem. Each panicle has a central axis from which a secondary axis emerges either with flowers (amaranthiform) or bearing a tertiary axis carrying the flowers (glomeruliform).[7] The green hypogynous flowers have a simple perianth and are generally self-fertilizing.[7][8] The fruits (seeds) are about 2 mm (0.08 in) in diameter and of various colors—from white to red or black, depending on the cultivar.[9]

Natural distribution

Chenopodium quinoa is believed to have been domesticated in the Peruvian Andes from wild or weed populations of the same species.[10] There are non-cultivated quinoa plants (Chenopodium quinoa var. melanospermum) that grow in the area it is cultivated; these may either be related to wild predecessors, or they could be descendants of cultivated plants.[11]

Saponins and oxalic acid

Red quinoa, cooked

In their natural state, the seeds have a coating which contains bitter-tasting saponins, making them unpalatable.[7][12] Most of the grain sold commercially has been processed to remove this coating. This bitterness has beneficial effects during cultivation, as it deters birds and therefore the plant requires minimal protection.[13] The genetic control of bitterness involves quantitative inheritance.[12] Although lowering the saponin content through selective breeding to produce sweeter, more palatable varieties is complicated by ≈10% cross-pollination,[14] it is a major goal of quinoa breeding programs, which may include genetic engineering.[12]

The toxicity category rating of the saponins in quinoa treats them as mild eye and respiratory irritants and as a low gastrointestinal irritant.[15][16] In South America, the saponins have many uses, including their use as a detergent for clothing and washing, and as a folk medicine antiseptic for skin injuries.[15]

Additionally, high levels of oxalic acid are in the leaves and stems of all species of the genus Chenopodium, and in the related genera of the family Amaranthaceae.[17] The risks associated with quinoa are minimal, provided it is properly prepared and the leaves are not eaten to excess.

Other Languages
العربية: كينوا
Aymar aru: Jiwra
azərbaycanca: Kinoa
български: Киноа
català: Quinoa
čeština: Merlík čilský
dansk: Quinoa
Deutsch: Quinoa
Ελληνικά: Κινόα
Esperanto: Kvinoo
euskara: Kinoa
فارسی: کینوآ
français: Quinoa
galego: Quinoa
한국어: 퀴노아
हिन्दी: क्विन्वा
hrvatski: Kvinoja
Bahasa Indonesia: Kinoa
íslenska: Kínóa
עברית: קינואה
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಕೀನೋವಾ
Kapampangan: Quinoa
magyar: Kinoa
Bahasa Melayu: Kuinoa
Nederlands: Quinoa (plant)
日本語: キヌア
norsk: Quinoa
norsk nynorsk: Quinoa
português: Quinoa
română: Quinoa
Runa Simi: Kinwa
русский: Киноа
Scots: Quinoa
Simple English: Quinoa
slovenščina: Kvinoja
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kinoa
suomi: Kvinoa
svenska: Quinoa
Tagalog: Quinoa
ไทย: กีนัว
Türkçe: Kinoa
українська: Кіноа
Tiếng Việt: Diêm mạch
粵語: 藜麥
中文: 藜麥