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Amaranthus cruentus - L.

Common Name Purple Amaranth, Red amaranth
Family Amaranthaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
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 Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range Original habitat is obscure, it was probably tropical America.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Moist Soil Full sun
Amaranthus cruentus Purple Amaranth, Red amaranth


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amaranthus_cruentus_Blanco2.430-cropped.jpg
Amaranthus cruentus Purple Amaranth, Red amaranth
http://www.biolib.de/

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Amaranthus cruentus is a ANNUAL growing to 2 m (6ft 7in).
It is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to 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. hybridus cruentus. Thell.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

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

Leaves - cooked as a spinach[183]. The mild-flavoured leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals[183]. Seed - very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious. They are eaten cooked or ground into a powder and used for making cakes etc[183, 257]. They can also be sprouted and used in salads[183]. 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]. The flowers are used as a food colouring in ceremonial maize bread[183].

Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Fresh weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 15g; Fat: 0g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; 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.



None known

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 to 7.5. Plants should not be given inorganic fertilizers, see notes above on toxicity. This species is cultivated for its edible seed in many parts of S. America and in Japan[58, 97, 183]. There is at least one named variety, 'Oeschberg' is a very productive plant, growing 1 metre tall and can yield up to 2.5 tonnes per hectare[183]. This species is the most adaptable of the grain amaranths, it also flowers under a wider range of daylength hours than the other species[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].

image

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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 blitumSlender Amaranth, Purple amaranth41
Amaranthus campestris 21
Amaranthus caudatusLove Lies Bleeding41
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

200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Jul 9 2012 12:00AM

I am growing the Autumn's Touch variety of this plant. It is very prolific. Just learned that it is edible, so looking forward to trying some in my salad. It lasts a long time in my bouquets. Now I wonder if it will self sow...

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Subject : Amaranthus cruentus  
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