Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
a family of dicotyledonous plants existing as herbs, less commonly subshrubs and shrubs, sometimes trees. The leaves are mostly whole, without stipules, alternating or accumbent. The flowers are diclinous or monoclinous, small and sometimes solitary, but more often in cymose inflorescences forming balls which are in turn gathered into spicate, paniculate, or capitate racemose inflorescences. The fruit is nutlike, rarely a berry or pyxidium. There are about 65 genera and 900 species, mainly in the tropical and subtropical regions of both hemispheres, chiefly in America and Africa, less commonly in Asia and Australia, occasionally in Europe. Five genera (about 15 species) are found in the USSR, generally weeds or cultivated plants (amaranth, cockscomb, and so on). The leaves of some Amaranthaceae species are used as food.