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Genus: Amaranthus (pigweeds)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Core Eudicots > Order: Caryophyllales > Family: Amaranthaceae > Subfamily: Amaranthoideae

About 60 species, found worldwide mainly in warmer regions. Eight species are native to southern Africa, 10 species are naturalised, and a further species is cultivated in the region. Species of Amaranthus are cultivated and the leaves cooked like spinach ('morogo').

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Amaranthus capensis

 

Amaranthus dinteri

 

Amaranthus lividus

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Amaranthus praetermissus

 

Amaranthus schinzianus

 

Amaranthus spinosus

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and naturalised in South Africa. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Amaranthus thunbergii

An annual herb native to southern Africa, where is is found throughout the region and is eaten as a leafy vegetable. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Amaranthus tricolor

Recorded from Mozambique.

 

Species naturalised in southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Amaranthus blitoides            

 

Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding)

Native to South America. See Wikipedia

 

Amaranthus deflexus

 

Amaranthus dubius

 

Amaranthus graecizans

 

Amaranthus hybridus (Common pigweed, Prince's feather)

Native from eastern USA to South America. Grows as a weed but is also cultivated for the leaves, which are eaten like Spinach. Amaranthus become poisonous if grown on nutrient rich soils (e.g. on compost heaps and in heavily fertilised soil) because under these conditions they accumulate dangerous levels of oxalates. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Amaranthus muricatus

 

Amaranthus retroflexus

 

Amaranthus standleyanus

 

Amaranthus viridis

 

Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

Information from Glen (2002).

Amaranthus hypochondriacus (Huuhtli, Alegria, Bledo, Rajgira, Keera)

Native to North America.

 

Publications

  • Adamson, R.S. 1936. Notes on the species of Amaranthus in the Western Cape Province. Journal of South African Botany 2: 191-195.

  • Brenan, J.P.M. 1981. The genus Amaranthus in southern Africa. Journal of South African Botany 47, 3: 451-492.

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

     


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