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Amaranthus hybridus - L.

Common Name Rough Pigweed, Slim amaranth
Family Amaranthaceae
USDA hardiness 6-12
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 Of uncertain origin, it grows wild in cultivated fields and waste places[43].
Range Tropics. Naturalized in Europe[50].
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Amaranthus hybridus Rough Pigweed,  Slim amaranth

(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Amaranthus hybridus Rough Pigweed,  Slim amaranth


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The nutritious mildly flavoured leaves and young seedlings can be eaten raw or cooked and used as a spinach substitute. Seeds are used as a cereal substitute and used in porridges and bread. Other common Name: Smooth Pigweed, Green Amaranth; Slim Amaranth. Spanish: bledo; quelite. French: amarante hybride. Portuguese: caruru-de-folha-larga. Brazil: caruru-branco; caruru-roxo. Germany: Bastard - Amarant; Gruenaehriger. Japan: honagaaogeito. Netherlands: basterdamarant.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Amaranthus hybridus is a ANNUAL growing to 2 m (6ft 7in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July 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. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


A. chlorostachys.


 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses:

Leaves and young seedlings - cooked as a spinach, added to soups etc or eaten raw[46, 61, 62, 159, 183]. The nutritious leaves have a mild flavour[K]. Seed - raw or cooked[22, 46, 61, 85]. Used as a cereal substitute, the seed is usually ground into a flour for use in porridges, bread etc. It is rather small, about 1mm in diameter[266], but is easy to harvest and very nutritious[K]. 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].

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.

A tea made from the leaves is astringent[105, 222]. It is used in the treatment of intestinal bleeding, diarrhoea, excessive menstruation etc[222, 257].

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Other Uses


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]. Plants should not be given inorganic fertilizers, see notes above on toxicity. Cultivated as a food crop in India[46, 105], there are many named forms[183]. This species has the potential, through crossbreeding, of imparting early maturity to the white seeded grain amaranths[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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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.

Easily controlled and not particularly competitive it is still considered weedy or invasive in Kentucky, Northeast US and other areas in the United States.

Conservation Status

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

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 cruentusPurple Amaranth, Red amaranth40
Amaranthus diacanthus 20
Amaranthus dubiusSpleen Amaranth20
Amaranthus frumentaceus 20
Amaranthus graecizansSpreading Pigweed, Mediterranean amaranth20
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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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Dries Human   Thu Oct 18 2007

Hi. I would like to get more info on how to cultivate these plants. And if possible: the Nutritional content of these plants. In South Africa Amaranthus hybridus, Chenopodium reticulatum and some other plants are known as Morogo, a well known and loves food sorce. Thing is, no one has ever planted it as a crop to be harvested and sold. I want to start this but need more info to see if it will work. Please help. Reply to with the subject as MOROGO Thank you

chidozie stanley   Sat Oct 11 2008

pls does any body have information or materials on the irrigation and mulch requirement of Amaranthus hybridus

david n   Sat Oct 11 2008

The Book "Botanica" does not mention A.hybridus specifically but says all Amaranthus like a dry position with mulch in hot weather, preumably mulched to keep roots cool rather than moist. Seedlings need regular watering. For older plants you may have to judge if they look like need a drink(droopy) or not, depending on your climate. My attempts to grow Amaranthus tricolor never amounted to much, prseumably because it is cool and moist here.

nnebe rita   Tue Mar 3 2009

hi, i am on a project to find out the performance of amaranthus on four tillage systems(mounds, beds, strip and zero till) does anyone have an idea on that. thanks amaranthus hybridus

Images of Amaranthus hybridus   Sep 17 2011 12:00AM

Does this entry have the correct image? The text says the plant grows to 2 feet but the image shows an Amaranthus that appears to be about 6 feet. The link below has images of the plant I know as Amaranthus hybridus. Even allowing for variability, it's quite different from the plant in the image. It grows all over my garden and yes, it doesn't get much more than 2 feet in height.
Southeastern Flora - Southeastern US Plant Identification Resource

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