Please donate to support our ‘Plants to Save the Planet’ Project. The Project is directed at enabling designers of ‘carbon farms’ and ‘food forests’: agroecosystems of perennial plants, to choose the most appropriate plants for their requirements and site conditions. We are working on a subset of plants in the PFAF database identified as having the most potential for inclusion in such designs. We are adding search terms and icons to those plants pages, and providing a range of search options aligned to categories of plants and crop yields, with Help facilities including videos. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Amaranthus tricolor - L.

Common Name Chinese Spinach, Joseph's-coat, Fountain Plant, Tampala , Summer Poinsettia
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 A widely cultivated plant, it is not known in a truly wild situation.
Range Tropical Asia
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Amaranthus tricolor Chinese Spinach, Joseph


http://www.biolib.de/
Amaranthus tricolor Chinese Spinach, Joseph
http://www.biolib.de/

 

Translate this page:

Summary

Bloom Color: Red. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Pyramidal, Upright or erect.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Amaranthus tricolor is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf from April to October, in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen 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 and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

A. gangeticus. L. A. melanocholicus.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seed  Stem
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Often used at the young seedling stage[2, 46, 61], they are also cooked as a spinach and have a very mild flavour[183]. An excellent hot weather substitute for spinach[183]. The leaves contain about 3.5% protein, 0.25% fat, 6.6% carbohydrate, 3.1% ash, 24mg iron per 100g, 464mg calcium per 100g, they are rich in vitamin A and have a fair content of vitamins B1 and C[179]. On a zero moisture basis 100g of the leaves contains up to 2441mg calcium, 1008mg phosphorus, 51mg iron, 34mg sodium, 4475mg potassium, 37,623 micrograms beta-carotene equivalent, 0.68mg thiamine, 2.37mg riboflavin, 11.48mg niacin and 730mg ascorbic acid[218]. The crisp interior of large stems makes a tasty vegetable[183]. It can be eaten raw or cooked as an asparagus substitute[2, 61]. Seed - cooked[22, 177]. Very small, about 1mm in diameter[266], but 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]. The seed contains saponins[218]. If this is the case it is probably best to either soak the seed for at least 12 hours and then rinse thoroughly before cooking or to give the seed a long slow cooking in order to destroy the saponins[K].

Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 0g; Fat: 0g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 2441mg; Phosphorus: 1008mg; Iron: 51mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 34mg; Potassium: 4475mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 37623mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.68mg; Riboflavin (B2): 2.37mg; Niacin: 11.5mg; B6: 0mg; C: 730mg;
  • 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

The whole plant is astringent[240]. A decoction of the root is used with Cucurbita moschata to control haemorrhage following abortion[218]. A decoction of very old plants is taken internally to improve vision and strengthen the liver.

Our new book Edible Shrubs is now available.

Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

Read More

Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Dye

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

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Specimen. Prefers a light well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position[200, 206], though it does succeed in heavier soils[206]. Tolerates fairly acid soils[206]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 7.8. This is basically a tropical plant and so requires a hot sheltered position in temperate climates if it is to do well[206, K]. Plants should not be given inorganic fertilizers, see notes above on toxicity. A polymorphic species[1], it is often cultivated for its edible leaves, there are many named varieties[206]. This species is often cultivated in Asia for its edible leaves and seed[46, 58]. It is a very ornamental plant and is often grown in the flower garden[200]. 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]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Edible, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers.

Temperature Converter

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

Fahrenheit:

image

The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now

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 minimum soil temperature of 10°c is required for germination, germination is better at temperatures above 20°c[206]. 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 NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Amaranthus albusProstrate PigweedAnnual0.7 8-10  LMHNM201
Amaranthus bidentata Annual0.9 -  LMHNM21 
Amaranthus blitoidesMat AmaranthAnnual0.2 6-10  LMHNM201
Amaranthus blitumSlender Amaranth, Purple amaranthAnnual1.0 4-8  LMHNM41 
Amaranthus campestris Annual0.0 -  LMHNM21 
Amaranthus caudatusLove Lies BleedingAnnual2.0 4-8  LMHNDM41 
Amaranthus cruentusPurple Amaranth, Red amaranthAnnual2.0 0-0  LMHNM40 
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 featherAnnual1.2 0-0  LMHNM43 
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 0-0  LMHNM321
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 viridisCalalu, Slender amaranthAnnual0.5 7-11  LMHNM321

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

200266

Links / References

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

Readers comment

Dale Larson   Mon May 1 2006

Where can the seed for this plant be obtained? Dale Larson Rosendal@valkyrie.net

Pete McCallum   Wed Aug 23 2006

I found vegetable amaranth seeds in a local (Wheaton, MD) oriental grocery. Imported from Taiwan,the tiny, jet black seeds are labeled "Whiteleaf Amaranth" in two of the few words of English on the seed packet. They've germinated readily in containers in the central Maryland climate. Also, Rodale (Emmaus, Pa) has been developing and commercializing grain amaranth varieties for some 30 years.

Michelle   Sat Nov 11 2006

Found Amaranthus Gangeticus (also called "Elephant Head" Amaranthus) seeds being sold as an ornamental on eBay by a Canadian grower, and am growing them in my Texas garden. Very showy flowers!

eBay http://stores.ebay.com/Josies-Gardens

marian chodacki   Sat Jul 14 2007

I live in illinois and enjoy growing amaranthus,but have a problem,ones in a while one of them just goes soft on the stem and dies.Does anyone have a answer for me? i do grow them in the sun and they are staked.My e-mail is Marian@chodacki.com thank you

rashmi   Sun Apr 12 2009

available at www.vreeken.nl

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Amaranthus tricolor  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.