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Amaranthus hypochondriacus - L.

Common Name Prince's Feather, Prince-of-wales feather
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 weed of wasteland and agricultural land.
Range Southern N. America.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Moist Soil Full sun
Amaranthus hypochondriacus Prince


commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Magnus_Manske
Amaranthus hypochondriacus Prince
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Magnus_Manske

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Amaranthus hypochondriacus is a ANNUAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is frost tender. It is in leaf 10-Apr It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The species is 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

A. hybridus hypochondriachus. (L.)Thell.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Colouring.

Young leaves - cooked as a spinach[183, 238]. Rich in vitamins and minerals, they have a mild flavour[K]. Seed - raw or cooked. They can be used as a cereal substitute. They can also be popped in much the same way as popcorn[183]. The seed can be soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then allowed to sprout for about 11 days[244]. They can then be added to salads[183]. Very small but the seed is 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]. A red pigment obtained from the plant is used as a food colouring[238].

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.

Antidiarrhoeal;  Astringent.

The whole plant contains tannin and is astringent[238, 254]. It is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and excessive menstruation[238, 254]. It can be used as a gargle to soothe inflammation of the pharynx and to hasten the healing of ulcerated mouths[254], whilst it can also be applied externally to treat vaginal discharges, nosebleeds and wounds[238]. The plant can be used fresh or it can also be harvested when coming into flower and dried for later use[238].

Other Uses

Dye.

Yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant[168]. A red dye obtained from the plant (the report does not specify which part of the plant) is used as a colouring in foods and medicines[238].

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]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.2 to 7.5. Plants should not be given inorganic fertilizers, see notes above on toxicity. Often cultivated, especially in tropical areas, for its edible leaves and seeds, there are many named varieties[183]. This is the most robust and highest yielding of the grain amaranths, though it is late maturing and therefore less suitable for northern areas[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].

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].

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 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 hybridusRough Pigweed, Slim amaranth41
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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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

200266

Links / References

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

Readers comment

TERRI   Sun Mar 4 2007

WHAT IS AMARANTHUS HYBRIDUS? THIS IS THE NAME USED FROM WHERE I PURCHASED MY SEEDS, BUT IN THE PHOTO SHOWN FOR SEEDS THE LEAVES ARE GREEN, MINE ARE RED...HOW CAN I DISTINGUISH THIS PLANT, ACCORDING TO ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HERBS BY DENI BOWN...MY PLANT IS AMARANTHUS HYPOCHONDRIACUS, MY CURIOSITY IS CAN I USE THIS PLANT MEDICINALLY AND EXACTLY WHAT PLANT DO I HAVE IN MY GARDEN..ANY INPUT, ADVICE

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Mon Mar 5 2007

The identification of many amaranth species is difficult at the best, and A. hybridus is one of the most difficult because it is so variable. Many different forms have been produced over the years, some with red leaves. Many of its forms are commonly mis-identified as A. hypochondriacus or other species. I would advise you to visit the on-line Flora of North America where there is quite a lot of information on this. Try going to http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=200006982 first. You can certainly use your plant medicinally.

elsa heeps   Tue Jul 1 2008

Hi there I live on vancouver island and am wondering if you have a source for seed for this plant, thanks, Elsa

C.   Sun Nov 8 2009

I know you say that black seeded varieties of Amaranthus are inedible, and tan or white seeded are, but are red seeded Amaranthus edible? Thank you.

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