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Amaranthus caudatus - L.
Common Name Love Lies Bleeding
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 weed of cultivated ground[145].
Range Tropics.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


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
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.
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.


 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].
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

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].
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
Found In
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 albusProstate Pigweed20
Amaranthus bidentata 21
Amaranthus blitoidesMat Amaranth20
Amaranthus blitumSlender Amaranth, Purple amaranth41
Amaranthus campestris 21
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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Botanical References
Links / References
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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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Subject : Amaranthus caudatus  

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