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Amaranthus blitum - L.

Common Name Slender Amaranth, Purple amaranth
Family Amaranthaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
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 A cosmopolitan weed growing on waste ground[58, 204].
Range Temperate and Tropical zones.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Amaranthus blitum Slender Amaranth,  Purple amaranth


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dalgial
Amaranthus blitum Slender Amaranth,  Purple amaranth
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dalgial

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Amaranthus blitum is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf from April to October, in flower in August, and the seeds ripen in September. 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 and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

A. blitum. L.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Colouring.

Leaves - raw or cooked as a spinach[2, 4, 55, 183]. The leaves contain about 3.88% protein, 1.1% fat, 9.38% carbohydrate, 3.2% ash, 323mg Ca, 8.3mg Fe, they are very rich in Vitamins A & C, rich in vitamin B1[179]. The leaves are used as a potherb in order to remove poison from the system[218]. Seed - cooked. Used as a cereal substitute in cakes, porridge etc[55, 183]. Very small, about 1.2mm in diameter[266], but it is easy to harvest and 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]. An edible dye is obtained from the seed capsules[4].

Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 3.9g; Fat: 1.1g; Carbohydrate: 9.4g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 3.2g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 323mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 8.3mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ ]
  • Notes:

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.

Astringent.

A fluid extract of the plant is used as an astringent internally in the treatment of ulcerated mouths and throats, externally as a wash for ulcers and sores[4]. The juice of the roots is used externally to relieve headaches[272]. The plant has a folk reputation for being effective in the treatment of tumours and warts[218].

Other Uses

Dye.

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

Cultivation details

Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position[200]. Requires a hot sheltered position if it is to do well[K]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 7.5. Plants should not be given inorganic fertilizers, see notes above on toxicity. This plant was cultivated by the ancient Romans and Greeks for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties[183]. 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].

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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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Amaranthus albusProstrate Pigweed20
Amaranthus bidentata 21
Amaranthus blitoidesMat Amaranth20
Amaranthus campestris 21
Amaranthus caudatusLove Lies Bleeding41
Amaranthus cruentusPurple Amaranth, Red amaranth40
Amaranthus diacanthus 20
Amaranthus dubiusSpleen Amaranth20
Amaranthus frumentaceus 20
Amaranthus graecizansSpreading Pigweed, Mediterranean amaranth20
Amaranthus hybridusRough Pigweed, Slim amaranth41
Amaranthus hypochondriacusPrince's Feather, Prince-of-wales feather43
Amaranthus mangostanus 20
Amaranthus mitchelliiBoggabri Weed20
Amaranthus pallidiflorus 20
Amaranthus palmeriCareless Weed20
Amaranthus polygamus 21
Amaranthus polystachyus 20
Amaranthus powelliiPowell's Amaranth20
Amaranthus quitensisAtaco20
Amaranthus retroflexusPigweed, Redroot amaranth, Wild Beet32
Amaranthus spinosusSpiny Amaranth23
Amaranthus standleyanusIndehiscent Pigweed20
Amaranthus tenuifolius 20
Amaranthus thunbergiiThunberg's Pigweed, Thunberg's amaranthus20
Amaranthus torreyiTorrey's amaranthus20
Amaranthus tricolorChinese Spinach, Joseph's-coat, Fountain Plant, Tampala , Summer Poinsettia31
Amaranthus viridisCalalu, Slender amaranth32

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

58200

Links / References

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Readers comment

DANE   Wed Aug 19 2009

thanks

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