Albersia arenaria Schur
Albersia ascendens Fourr.
Albersia blitum Kunth
Albersia livida Kunth
Amaranthus adscendens auct.
Amaranthus albus Rodschied ex F.Dietr.
Amaranthus alius K.Krause
Amaranthus ascendens Loisel.
Amaranthus berchtoldii Seidl ex Opiz
Amaranthus blitonius St.-Lag.
Amaranthus diffuses Dulac.
Amaranthus gangeticus Wall.
Amaranthus graecizans blitum (L.) Kuntze
Amaranthus lividus Hook.f.
Amaranthus lividus L.
Amaranthus lividus ascendens (Loisel.) Hayw. & Druce
Amaranthus minor Gray
Amaranthus mucronatus Poir.
Amaranthus oleraceus Rodschied
Amaranthus pallidus M.Bieb.
Amaranthus polygonoides Zoll. ex Moq.
Amaranthus prostratus T.Bastard [Illegitimate]
Amaranthus ruderalis Koch ex Moq.
Amaranthus tenuiflorus Fisch. ex Moq.
Amaranthus tenuifolius Roxb.
Amaranthus viridis All. [Illegitimate]
Blitum maius Scop.
Euxolus alius (E.H.L.Krause) E.H.L.Krause
Euxolus ascendens (Loisel.) H.Hara
Euxolus viridis ascendens (Loisel.) Moq.
Glomeraria blitum (L.) Cav.
Common Name: Slender Amaranth
The plant on the left is a more or less prostrate form of this species. It has similarities with Amaranthus blitoides, the prostrate species on the right
Photograph by: Bas Kers (NL)
Amaranthus blitum is a vigorous, annual plant producing erect to prostrate stems 6 - 90cm long[
]. The stems can be simple or branched, sometimes radiating from base and forming mats[
The edible leaves and seeds are sometimes gathered from the wild and used locally. The plant, especially the form Amaranthus blitum oleraceus, is often allowed to grow as a weed and is occasionally cultivated as a vegetable[
]. The leaves are sold in local markets[
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.
A cosmopolitan weed, spread through the Temperate and Tropical zones.
A cosmopolitan weed growing on waste ground[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Semi-cultivated, Wild
Often cultivated, especially the form oleraceus, the plant succeeds from the temperate zone through to the tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 21 - 27°c, but can tolerate 18 - 32°c[
]. It can be killed by temperatures of 4°c or lower[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 200 - 2,700mm[
Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position[
]. Requires a hot sheltered position if it is to do well[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 4.3 to 7.5[
The plant has become a weed in many areas of the world outside its original range. It is classified as 'Invasive' in many Pacific Islands[
Plants are particularly susceptible to attacks by leaf-chewing insects[
Plants should not be given inorganic fertilizers, see notes above on toxicity.
This plant was cultivated by the ancient Romans and Greeks for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties[
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[
Leaves - raw or cooked as a spinach[
]. The leaves contain about 3.88% protein, 1.1% fat, 9.38% carbohydrate, 3.2% ash, 323mg Ca, 8.3mg Fe, they are very rich in Vitamins A & C, rich in vitamin B1[
]. The leaves are used as a potherb in order to remove poison from the system[
Seed - cooked. Used as a cereal substitute in cakes, porridge etc[
]. Very small, about 1.2mm in diameter[
], but it 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[
An edible dye is obtained from the seed capsules[
A fluid extract of the plant is used as an astringent internally in the treatment of ulcerated mouths and throats, externally as a wash for ulcers and sores[
The juice of the roots is used externally to relieve headaches[
The plant has a folk reputation for being effective in the treatment of tumours and warts[
Yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant[
Seed - can be sown in situ or in a nursery seedbed and then transplanted to their permanent position 2 - 3 weeks later[
]. Germination is usually rapid and good if the soil is warm[
], but poor germination rates are experienced in cool or cold soils[
]. A drop in temperature overnight aids germination[
Cuttings of growing plants root easily[
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