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Amaranthus caudatus - L.                
                 
Common Name Love Lies Bleeding
Family Amaranthaceae
Synonyms
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 weed of cultivated ground[145].
Range Tropics.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Amaranthus caudatus is a ANNUAL growing to 2 m (6ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind, self.The plant is self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid, very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Amaranthus caudatus Love Lies Bleeding


(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Amaranthus caudatus Love Lies Bleeding
(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Colouring.

Leaves - raw or cooked as a spinach or added to soups etc[22, 46, 61, 105, 183]. The mild flavoured leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals[183, K]. Seed - cooked[22, 46, 57, 105]. Very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious, individual plants can bear up to 100, 000 seeds[196]. It is eaten cooked or ground into a powder and used in baking[61, 183, 196]. The seed can also be popped in much the same way as popcorn[97, 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 seed is very nutritious and contains 13 - 18% of a very high quality protein that is rich in the amino acid lysine[196]. It also contains good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin E and the vitamin B complex[196]. A red food colouring called 'betalaina' is obtained from red cultivars[196].
Composition                                         
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Fresh weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 18g; 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.

Anthelmintic;  Astringent.

The plant is astringent, anthelmintic and diuretic[4, 240]. It is used in the treatment of stranguary and is applied externally to scrofulous sores[240].
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[196, 200]. Grows moderately well in poor soils[200]. Requires a hot sheltered position if it is to do well[K]. Plants are drought resistant though reasonable moisture levels are required for germination and also at pollination[196]. Some forms can tolerate a pH up to 8.5, there are also some that can tolerate mild salinity[196]. It is likely that they will also tolerate acid soils and aluminium toxicity[196]. Plants are not frost-hardy, the most cold tolerant cultivars can tolerate temperatures down to about 4°c[196]. Plants should not be given inorganic fertilizers, see notes above on toxicity. This species is cultivated for its edible seed and leaves in the Andes and various other parts of S. America[46, 61, 97]. It probably arose through cultivation from A. quitensis. There are some named varieties[196]. Plants take 4 - 6 months from sowing to harvesting the seed, but up to 10 months in some Andean highland regions[196]. Yields from 1 - 3 tonnes per hectare are common, 5 tonnes has been achieved and research sites have produced the equivalent of 6 tonnes per hectare[196]. The seed is usually harvested just before maturity otherwise some of the seed will be lost during harvesting[196]. Plants usually have downward facing seedheads but varieties have been developed with upward facing heads that can be harvested mechanically[196]. This species is sensitive to day-length most cultivars are short-day and have not done well in northern latitudes, but there are some varieties that flower at day-lengths up to 16 hours[196]. 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].
                                                                                 
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].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[22]Sholto-Douglas. J. Alternative Foods.
Not very comprehensive, it seems more or less like a copy of earlier writings with little added.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[57]Schery. R. W. Plants for Man.
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[97]Towle. M. A. The Ethno-Botany of Pre-Columbian Peru.
A very interesting book covering quite a lot of information on plant uses in S. America although many of the plants are not suitable for temperate areas..
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[133]Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
[145]Singh. Dr. G. and Kachroo. Prof. Dr. P. Forest Flora of Srinagar.
A good flora of the western Himalayas but poorly illustrated. Some information on plant uses.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[196]Popenoe. H. et al Lost Crops of the Incas
An excellent book. Very readable, with lots of information and good pictures of some lesser known food plants of S. America.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[206]Larkcom J. Oriental Vegetables
Well written and very informative.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.

Readers comment                                         
 
Lily D.
Nov 29 2010 12:00AM
If you need some information about the tallest A. caudatus more than 3.5m long, I can send you the detailed, video, and some photo about this plant from Bahir Dar - Ethiopia (Africa) Dessalegntemesgen@yahoo.com
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