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Amaranthus retroflexus - L.
                 
Common Name Pigweed, Redroot amaranth, Wild Beet
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 casual of cultivated land and waste places in Britain[17].
Range Tropical America. A casual in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Moist Soil Full sun

Summary

Amaranthus retroflexus Pigweed, Redroot amaranth, Wild Beet


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/Cleaned-Illustration_Amaranthus_retroflexus.jpg
Amaranthus retroflexus Pigweed, Redroot amaranth, Wild Beet
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Lynk_media
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Amaranthus retroflexus is a ANNUAL growing to 0.9 m (3ft).
It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. 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 and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
Habitats
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Young leaves - raw or cooked as a spinach[2, 5, 62, 85, 159]. A mild flavour, it is often mixed with stronger flavoured leaves[183]. Very rich in iron, it is also a good source of vitamins A and C[201]. Seed - raw or cooked[2, 46, 61, 85]. Ground into a powder and used as a cereal substitute[5], it can also be sprouted and added to salads. The seed is very small, about 1mm in diameter[266], but easy to harvest and very nutritious. The flavour is greatly improved by roasting the seed before grinding it[183]. It is often added to maize meal[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].
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.

A tea made from the leaves is astringent[222]. It is used in the treatment of profuse menstruation, intestinal bleeding, diarrhoea etc[222, 238, 257]. An infusion has been used to treat hoarseness[257].
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]. Plants should not be given inorganic fertilizers, see notes above on toxicity. A good companion for potatoes, onions, corn, tomatoes, peppers and aubergines[20, 201]. A deep rooted plant, bringing up minerals from lower levels of the soil[201]. Formerly cultivated as a food crop by the N. American Indians[85]. 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].
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 caudatusLove Lies Bleeding41
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 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
17266
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
john greene Sun Feb 20 15:26:56 2005
Hello, I intend using this plant this year,but I do not know where to obtain the seed. Can you please help?
Elizabeth H.
Stephen Wed Sep 5 2007
Contact Maltawildplants.com, perhaps they have in stock
Elizabeth H.
Frank Blissett Sun Jul 20 2008
John, Go to any local farmer or person with a large garden. I have yet to see a garden of any size here in the midwest without an abundance of volunteer pigweed. -Frank Blissett
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Subject : Amaranthus retroflexus  
 

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