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Amaranthus albus - L.

Common Name Prostrate Pigweed
Family Amaranthaceae
USDA hardiness 8-10
Known Hazards No members of this genus are known to be poisonous, but when grown on nitrogen-rich soils they are known to concentrate nitrates in the leaves. This is especially noticeable on land where chemical fertilizers are used. Nitrates are implicated in stomach cancers, blue babies and some other health problems. It is inadvisable, therefore, to eat this plant if it is grown inorganically.
Habitats Disturbed or waste ground[43].
Range Southern N. America. Naturalized or casual in most of Europe[50].
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Amaranthus albus Prostrate Pigweed


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Amaranthus albus Prostrate Pigweed
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Summary

A common annual weed with mildly flavoured edible leaves used as a spinach substitute rich in vitamins and minerals. The seeds are also edible. Common names include: White Pigweed, Tumble Pigweed, Tumbleweed, Prostrate Pigweed. U.S. name: Prostrate Pigweed. French: Amarante blanche. Spanish: bledo blanco. Portuguese: bredo-branco. German: weißer Fuchsschwanz. Brazilian: carurú-branco. Swedish: vit amarant.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Amaranthus albus is a ANNUAL growing to 0.7 m (2ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf from May to October, in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses:

Leaves and young plant - cooked[177]. A mild flavour, it is rich in vitamins and minerals and is used as a spinach[K]. Seed - raw or cooked[257]. They can be ground into a flour and used to make bread[257]. Very small and fiddly, about 1mm in diameter[266], but the seed is very nutritious. The seed can be cooked whole, and becomes very gelatinous like this, but it is rather difficult to crush all of the small seeds in the mouth and thus some of the seed will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated[K].

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


None known

References

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FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

Dye

Yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant[168].

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator

References

Cultivation details

We have very little information on this species but it should succeed as a spring-sown annual in Britain. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position[200]. Requires a hot sheltered position if it is to do well[K]. Plants should not be given inorganic fertilizers, see notes above on toxicity. Most if not all members of this genus photosynthesize by a more efficient method than most plants. Called the 'C4 carbon-fixation pathway', this process is particularly efficient at high temperatures, in bright sunlight and under dry conditions[196].

References

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

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Propagation

Seed - sow late spring in situ. An earlier sowing can be made in a greenhouse and the plants put out after the last expected frosts. Germination is usually rapid and good if the soil is warm[133]. A drop in temperature overnight aids germination[133]. Cuttings of growing plants root easily[206].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Considered a serious agriculture weed in southern New South Wales, Australia. It may also be weedy or invasive in parts of the US.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Amaranthus bidentata Annual0.9 -  LMHNM21 
Amaranthus blitoidesMat AmaranthAnnual0.2 6-10  LMHNM201
Amaranthus blitumSlender Amaranth, Purple amaranthAnnual1.0 4-8  LMHNM422
Amaranthus campestris Annual0.0 -  LMHNM21 
Amaranthus caudatusLove Lies BleedingAnnual2.0 4-8  LMHNDM412
Amaranthus cruentusPurple Amaranth, Red amaranthAnnual2.0 3-11  LMHNM422
Amaranthus diacanthus Annual0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus dubiusSpleen AmaranthAnnual1.0 -  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus frumentaceus Annual0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus graecizansSpreading Pigweed, Mediterranean amaranthAnnual0.5 0-0  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus hybridusRough Pigweed, Slim amaranthAnnual2.0 6-12  LMHNM411
Amaranthus hypochondriacusPrince's Feather, Prince-of-wales featherAnnual/Perennial1.2 3-10  LMHNM432
Amaranthus mangostanus Annual1.5 -  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus mitchelliiBoggabri WeedAnnual0.5 -  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus pallidiflorus Annual1.0 -  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus palmeriCareless WeedAnnual0.9 7-12  LMHNM201
Amaranthus polygamus Annual0.0 -  LMHNM21 
Amaranthus polystachyus Annual0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus powelliiPowell's AmaranthAnnual1.8 6-11  LMHNM201
Amaranthus quitensisAtacoAnnual1.0 -  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus retroflexusPigweed, Redroot amaranth, Wild BeetAnnual0.9 3-11  LMHNM322
Amaranthus spinosusSpiny AmaranthAnnual0.6 4-11  LMHNM231
Amaranthus standleyanusIndehiscent PigweedAnnual0.7 -  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus tenuifolius Annual0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus thunbergiiThunberg's Pigweed, Thunberg's amaranthusAnnual0.5 0-0  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus torreyiTorrey's amaranthusAnnual0.8 0-0  LMHNM20 
Amaranthus tricolorChinese Spinach, Joseph's-coat, Fountain Plant, Tampala , Summer PoinsettiaAnnual1.0 3-11 MLMHNM312
Amaranthus viridisCalalu, Slender amaranthAnnual0.5 7-11  LMHNM321

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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