amaranth (ămˈərănthˌ) [Gr.,=unfading], common name for the Amaranthaceae (also commonly known as the pigweed family), a family of herbs, trees, and vines of warm regions, especially in the Americas and Africa. The genus Amaranthus includes several widely distributed species called amaranths that are characterized by a lasting red pigment in the stems and leaves. They have been a poetic symbol of immortality from the time of ancient Greece. Amaranthus also includes such weeds as the green amaranth, A. retroflexus, and various species commonly called tumbleweed and pigweed, as well as several cultivated plants—e.g., love-lies-bleeding, or tassel flower, and Joseph's coat. Other ornamentals in the family are the globe amaranth (genus Gomphrenia), sometimes called bachelor's button, and the cockscomb (Celosia), both originally tropical annuals. They can be preserved dry and are used in everlasting bouquets. Amaranth is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Caryophyllales.
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Many varieties found all over the world. Super nutritious and healthy. Whole plant is edible. Can be eaten raw or steamed. Better tasting than spinach. Has greenish, sometimes purplish colored flowers, red stem. Seeds are a world famous grain and food supply used by the Aztecs. Can be made into flour, or put into smoothies etc. Amaranth seed is high in protein, especially lysine and methionine, two essential amino acids that are not often found in grain. Very hardy plant, difficult to kill. An awesome food source. Used for stomach flu, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, excessive menstruation. Seeds better if soaked overnight. Roots can be roasted or boiled as potato alternative. Do not consume if pregnant or lactating. Toxic lookalike- hairy nightshade, whose leaves look the same but stem is hairy and has white nightshade flower.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
An annual plant (seldom perennial) of the genus Amaranthus that is distributed worldwide in warm and humid regions and is distinguished by small chaffy flowers (arranged in dense, green or red, monoecious or dioecious inflorescences) and by dry, membranous, indehiscent, one-seeded fruit.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
any of numerous tropical and temperate plants of the genus Amaranthus, having tassel-like heads of small green, red, or purple flowers: family Amaranthaceae
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005