Plant Profile: Amaranth

Botanical Name: Amaranthus retroflexus is very common and 60+ spp. worldwide

Family: Amaranthaceae

Common Names: Pigweed

Primary Characteristics for Field ID:
Leaves are lanceolate and alternate along the main stem. Stems are red.

Part Used for Food:
Fresh leaves and young tips of stems. Older leaves and stems are either bitter, stringy or fibrous.
Cultivated amaranth is grown for its large seed heads and is much larger than the wild species referred to here.

Habitat in Which it is Found/ Harvesting Season, Special Considerations:
Amaranth is widespread around the world. It likes disturbed soils and is often the weed that is pulled from vegetable gardens.
Common between 3,000’ – 7,500’ in the Southwest.
It has the best flavor when the leaves are fresh and before the seed heads form although this is a rare wild green that is palatable later in the summer.

Energetics:
Mildly bitter and cooling, like most greens. Very palatable.

Indications:
High in vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Eat it to add nutrition to your diet.

Herbal Combos:
Can be combined with any greens, wild or domestic.

Preferred Method of Preparation:
Prepare it like you would spinach.

Dosage – Frequency & Quantity:
Eat it freely.

The Plant Profiles are brief materia medica summaries of plants encountered during plant walks or introduced during class on our longer programs. They are presented here to help students organize plant info on an ongoing basis. Although these Profiles are not meant to be comprehensive, they are offered here to the public in the hope that others find these pages useful.

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