Linnaeus, Syst. Nat. ed. 10. 2: 1269. 1759.
Blood amaranth, purple amaranth, caterpillar amaranth
almost glabrous or slightly pubescent distally, especially when young.
erect, green or reddish purple, branched distally, mostly in inflorescence, to nearly simple, 0.4-2 m.
/2 as long as to ± equaling blade; blade rhombic-ovate or ovate to broadly lanceolate, 3-15(-20) × 1.5-10(-15) cm, occasionally larger in robust plants, base cuneate to broadly cuneate, margins entire, plane, apex acute or subobtuse to slightly emarginate, with mucro.
terminal and axillary, erect, reflexed, or nodding, usually dark red, purple, or deep beet-red, less commonly almost green or greenish red, leafless at least distally , large and robust.
narrowly spathulate, 2-3 mm, equaling or slightly longer than tepals, apex short-spinescent.
tepals 5, oblong to lanceolate, not clawed, equal or subequal, 1.5-3 mm, apex acute; style branches erect or slightly reflexed; stigmas 3.
at tips of inflorescences; tepals 5; stamens (4-)5.
obovoid to elongate-obovoid, 2-2.5 mm, smooth or slightly rugose distally, dehiscence regularly circumscissile.
usually white or ivory, with reddish or yellowish tint, sometimes dark brown to dark reddish brown, broadly lenticular to elliptic-lenticular, 1.2-1.6 mm diam., smooth or indistinctly punctate.
Flowering summer-fall. Near places of cultivation; Ariz., Calif., Conn., Ill., Ind., Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tex., Utah, Vt., Wash., W.Va., Wis.; Central America; South America; cultivated widely.
is cultivated as ornamental and pseudocereal almost worldwide from tropical to warm-temperate regions. While reported as naturalized in several states, most specimens identified as this species are referable to
or other native species. Escaped plants of
sometimes occur near places of cultivation (see note under
). No attempt has been made to summarize distribution data for such escapes.
(most probably in cultivation in Central America), with which it shares almost all major morphologic characteristics. Inclusion of cultivated forms in
in a broad sense is thus rather justified. Cultivated species traditionally have been treated as separate taxa in horticultural and agricultural literature, and we prefer to maintain the current convenient usage of these names.