Amaranth Identification

by Green Deane

in Edible Raw, Greens/Pot Herb

Sorting out some amaranths


Amaranthus hybridus, aka Smooth Amaranth, stems can be red or green
Smooth Amaranth red leaf  hairy, green can be hairless.
Smooth Amaranth flowers are short, petiole one half the lenght of the leaf to as long as the leaf.
Smooth Amaranth flower
Smooth Amaranth, green form.  
Amaranthus palmeri, Palmer Amaranth: Female left, Male right
Palmer Amaranth, female flower is very long. Photo by Univ. of Fla. EDIS
Palmer Amaranth, female flower is bristly. Photo by Univ.of Fla. EDIS
Palmer Amaranth, male flower is also long. Photo by Univ. of Fla. EDIS
Palmer Amaranth, male flower is soft. Photo by Univ. of Fla. EDIS
Palmer Amaranth, leaf petiole is as long as leaf or longer. Leaf also has white ribs on back. Top of leaf may or may not have a white chevron watermark. Photo by Univ. of Fla. EDIS
Amaranth viridis, Calalu, Smooth Amaranth, leaves can notched. Vlita (βλήτα) in Greek
Smooth Amaranth’s leaves can have chevrons. It can also have many branches
Smooth Amaranth flowers can be very long a droopy
Smooth Amaranth, note red coloring of flower.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

John Bland February 22, 2017 at 17:18

I found a great spot at a local construction site
Located next to the backside of The Daytona Speedway and the smaller side of the Airpor(Cesnas and smaller planes fly out of)
There is a new Portion of Emery Riddle Flight School going up across the small road id a drain ditch and a row ow of untaimed grass and WEEDSSSS. haha.
I found atleast 8 identifiable edible species growing to include. Tansy Mustard , another yellow flowered mustard,Spiderwart,of course peppergrass, Indian Plantain Thistle the pricly kind and a few more I could not identify.
Just thought you and a few others may want to see before they fade away.

P.S. I plan on picking some of the mustard for home consumtion but will leave a bit for any others whom may be interested.



Yizack June 26, 2017 at 19:19

Be careful! There may be lot of chemicals!


Mika Court July 4, 2014 at 07:51

I have the smooth amaranth growing in my garden in Greece. Are all of the parts of the plant edible? Any recipes to share? Thank you for your posts. Very helpful! cheers, Mika


Green Deane July 7, 2014 at 15:12

When young and tender all the above ground parts of the Amaranthus species is edible.


Chris January 13, 2014 at 21:33

What is the deal with “nitrates”, they make you sick or poison you??


Erika July 24, 2014 at 17:08

It was thought that the nitrates in food concentrated in your kidneys and could lead to kidney stones. Now science is not sure. What we do know is that nitrates are higher in well fertilized plants and in certain green vegetables – spinach and any green that can be used as a spinach substitute basically. They seem to concentrate the nitrates in the parts we eat. FWIW they may be harder on people with certain diseases that affect the kidneys, so that needs to be taken into consideration.

As far as that goes, I lived on cooked greens (canned spinach was all I could keep down…) for 3 months while I was pregnant with no ill effects… my kid turned out fine, kidneys still work.


Richard Wilk July 17, 2013 at 16:36

Callaloo is a very common variety of Amaranth throughout the Caribbean and Latin America (though in some places Callaloo refers to young leaves of xanthosoma, colocasia, or even allocasia, or to a dish made with greens and other ingredients). It is often self-seeding, since people pick the leaves but generally do not eat the seeds (though young flowering heads are often boiled up along with the leaves). So it is kind of semi-domesticate – truly wild plants tend to have smaller leaves, bigger seed heads, and more fiber.


Jaclyn July 12, 2013 at 00:09

I was yanking these out of my garden. Oppsy! I can’t wait too try the leaves and make grain flower with them. I should have known better. Thank!


herb butterfield June 22, 2013 at 22:58

I love to eat lambs quarter or pigweed as some call it, but I always thought that the purple coloring on the leaves indicated somthing about the soil. Is this true?


Green Deane June 23, 2013 at 18:48

No. While “discoloration” can be an indicator of disease, insects or soil issue, some plants just are multi-colored and Chenoposiums and Amaranths fit the bill.


Eric June 26, 2013 at 15:04

the purple coloration in Chenopodium is due to the accumulation of betalains. it is (often) a sign of stress in the plant (insufficient or too much N? one of those), but i cannot imagine it would be a problem for you to eat (but who knows!).


Jaclyn July 12, 2013 at 10:20

Lambs quarter is not the same thing as Amaranth.
Lambs quarter is Chenopodium spp.
Amaranth is Amaranthus spp.


BeckyLadakh May 27, 2013 at 02:37

Last year here in the Himalayas, we bought seeds from an old guy selling them on the street side. Anything we didn’t have, we bought and planted one garden bed. One was some kind of red amaranth that made a nice pot herb, and gave off strong dark pink colouring in the food. When we made homemade ketchup, it added a rich red to the orangey tomato red, and it lent a nice vegetable flavor overtone. But this year we can’t remember the name, can’t find the old seed seller, and so we can’t plant it again! Oh well.


CeLia July 20, 2013 at 13:39

We have those here in Malaysia. 🙂
Pretty cheap and easy to get em too. Let me know if you want some. I can send. I am actually encouraging my local communities around Malaysia to grow their own edible gardens and forage more from surrounding areas. I forage weeds for my daily salads as well as trying out gardening in confine spaces.

We also have these wild amarath seeds if anyone’s interested. Not that I am selling em. Would probably send you some if you can send me some seeds too from your sides. 🙂



Michael Coutts October 28, 2014 at 20:58

It isn’t a good idea to mail seeds to other countries or areas as the new plants could take hold and crowd out other native plants both edible and non edible In fact it is illegal in most countries too.


Victoria July 4, 2016 at 01:38

“Loves lie Bleeding” is the name of the red Amaranth I believe you are looking for. The seeds get very red and beautiful.


Chaz Mikell May 26, 2013 at 11:16

Always remember: Amaranth (COmmon name ‘Pigweed’ is a concentrate-or of nitrates, plants from nitrate-fertilized area should only be eaten in moderatio. You are corect, volumes could be written about Amaranth. Mother Earth News in an article several years ago stated that amaranth could feed the world because it can be grown in arid and other extreme environs such as Etheopia where phamon is a constant problem. Makes you wonder why there is still starvation in the world when we know the answers but continue to send relief foods rather than knowledge to these areas. We have use the greens as well as grain on myshow ‘Cooking WIld’.


Deborah Aldridge April 2, 2013 at 11:23

Well, now I’m completely confused. I don’t know if I have Palmer Amaranth or Smooth Amaranth, but it doesn’t matter. I’m still going to eat it.


Bob James March 25, 2013 at 17:44

The photos were very helpful, but please add your usual summary at the end. Thanks.


Keith March 9, 2013 at 23:24

Yup great job! U should find some herbicide resistant superweed amaranth and sell it. Shhh. Wonder if those “superweeds” are as poisonous as their GMO rivals.


Lee Wrubel December 20, 2012 at 10:47

This display has been extremely helpful.


J.Michael November 26, 2012 at 13:34

Thanks for the update Deane! I’m liking this style of posting. Be great if you could do it with some other plants.


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