Skip the header
Open access
Datasheet
Enhanced
5 May 2015

Amaranthus cruentus (red amaranth)

Datasheet Types: Crop, Invasive species, Host plant

Abstract

This datasheet on Amaranthus cruentus covers Identity, Overview, Distribution, Dispersal, Diagnosis, Biology & Ecology, Environmental Requirements, Natural Enemies, Impacts, Uses, Prevention/Control, Further Information.

Identity

Preferred Scientific Name
Amaranthus cruentus L.
Preferred Common Name
red amaranth
Other Scientific Names
Amaranthus hybridus subsp. cruentus (L.) Thell.
Amaranthus hybridus var. cruentus (L.) Moq.
Amaranthus hybridus var. patulus (Bertol.) Thell.
Amaranthus paniculatus L.
Amaranthus sanguineus L.
International Common Names
English
African spinach
Mexican grain amaranth
Spanish
amaranto
cola de zorro
French
amarante
amarante étalée
brède de Malabar
Chinese
lao ya gu
Portuguese
bredo
caruru-branco
Local Common Names
Australia
redshank
Cuba
bledo francés
globo de oro
moco de pavo
Czech Republic
laskavec červenoklasý
Denmark
rød amarant
Dominican Republic
bledo
zépina
Estonia
pööris-rebashein
Finland
puppurarevonhäntä
France
queue de renard
Germany
Ausgebreiteter Amarant
Ausgebreiteter Fuchsschwanz
Rispen- Amarant
Rispenfuchsschwanz
Haiti
épanard
Hungary
sárga disznóparéj
Italy
amaranto cruento
Japan
hosoaogeito
Latvia
skarainais amarants
Lithuania
raibasis burnotis
Netherlands
graanamarant
Poland
szarłat krwisty
Puerto Rico
gusano
Spain
achita
Sweden
blodamarant
UK
Indian spinach
USA
blood amaranth
caterpillar amaranth
purple amaranth
EPPO code
AMACR (Amaranthus cruentus)

Pictures

Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Invasive habit - “Velvet Curtains” cultivar. Hockenheimer Rheinbogen, Germany. September 2012.
Invasive habit
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Invasive habit - “Velvet Curtains” cultivar. Hockenheimer Rheinbogen, Germany. September 2012.
Public Domain - Released by AnRo0002/via Wikimedia Commons - CC0
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); “Kinnauri Dhankar” cultivar. Jardin des Plantes, Toulouse, France. September 2016.
Cultivar
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); “Kinnauri Dhankar” cultivar. Jardin des Plantes, Toulouse, France. September 2016.
©Krzysztof Golik/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Flowering habit. India. December 2009.
Flowering habit
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Flowering habit. India. December 2009.
©Dinesh Valke/via Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Flowering habit. India. December 2009.
Flowering habit
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Flowering habit. India. December 2009.
©Dinesh Valke/via Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Invasive habit. Hockenheimer Rheinbogen, Germany. September 2012.
Invasive habit
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Invasive habit. Hockenheimer Rheinbogen, Germany. September 2012.
Public Domain - Released by AnRo0002/via Wikimedia Commons - CC0
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Inflorescence. Szczecin, Poland. August 2019.
Inflorescence
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Inflorescence. Szczecin, Poland. August 2019.
©Salicyna/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Seedlings. Botanical Garden of Szeged, Hungary. May 2018.
Seedlings
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Seedlings. Botanical Garden of Szeged, Hungary. May 2018.
©Krzysztof Ziarnek/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Seeds. January 2013.
Seeds
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank); Seeds. January 2013.
©Michael Dachler(Planteur)/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 3.0
A. cruentus: 1, branch with axils; 2, leaf; 3, inflorescence; 4, glomerule; 5, male flower (one tepal removed); 6, female flower with dehiscing cap; 7, seed.Reproduced from the series 'Plant Resources of South-East Asia', Vols 1-20 (1989-2000), by kind permission of the PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia.
A. cruentus - line drawing
A. cruentus: 1, branch with axils; 2, leaf; 3, inflorescence; 4, glomerule; 5, male flower (one tepal removed); 6, female flower with dehiscing cap; 7, seed.Reproduced from the series 'Plant Resources of South-East Asia', Vols 1-20 (1989-2000), by kind permission of the PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia.
©PROSEA Foundation

Summary of Invasiveness

Amaranthus cruentus is an annual herbaceous plant originating from Central America and cultivated since ancient times for its grain. Introduced to many countries, it is now widespread and naturalized in many parts of the world. A. cruentus is listed as invasive in China, Israel and Italy, with evidence of impact. Although also reported as invasive in New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, no further information is provided on its impact in these countries. This species is also described as a casual alien, an escape from cultivation and agricultural weed; it is listed in the Global Compendium of Weeds.

Taxonomic Tree

This content is currently unavailable.

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

The genus Amaranthus includes about 60 species (Stevens, 2020) that are spread worldwide in the temperate, subtropical and tropical areas. The genus has three species that are important for grain production (pseudocereals): A. caudatus, A. hypochondriacus and A. cruentus (Marin et al., 2011).
Much of the difficulty in taxonomic discrimination of species within the group can be attributed to attempts at recognizing taxa based on pigmentation or growth forms, which are extremely variable within amaranths (Sauer, 1967). However, examination of floral parts can result in constant characters from which discontinuities can be used to define well-established taxa. In this sense, tepal (petals and sepals are combined in a single floral whorl) number and morphology are commonly used in taxonomic keys (Kole, 2011).

Plant Type

Herbaceous
Seed / spore propagated
Annual

Description

The following description is from Flora of Editorial Committee (2015):
Plants almost glabrous or slightly pubescent distally, especially when young. Stems erect, green or reddish purple, branched distally, 0.4-2 m. Leaves: petiole 1/2 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. Inflorescences 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. Bracts narrowly spathulate, 2-3 mm, equaling or slightly longer than tepals, apex short-spinescent. Pistillate flowers: tepals 5, oblong to lanceolate, not clawed, equal or subequal, 1.5-3 mm, apex acute; style branches erect or slightly reflexed; stigmas 3. Staminate flowers at tips of inflorescences; tepals 5; stamens (4-)5. Utricles obovoid to elongate-obovoid, 2-2.5 mm, smooth or slightly rugose distally, dehiscence regularly circumscissile. Seeds 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.

Distribution

The following information is provided by Grubben (2004):
As early as 6000 years ago, A. cruentus was domesticated as a pseudocereal (grain amaranth) in Central America from the weed A. hybridus. Escaped plants from cultivation also occur in the wild. The vegetable form of A. cruentus was probably introduced in the tropics and subtropics of the Old World during colonial times. At present, A. cruentus is a widespread traditional vegetable in all countries of tropical Africa. It is the main leafy vegetable in Benin, Togo and Sierra Leone and very important in many lowland areas e.g. in southern Nigeria, DR Congo, Kenya and Tanzania. It is more popular in humid lowland than in highland or arid areas. It is also an important vegetable in many tropical areas outside Africa e.g. in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean. The Bangladesh type has big fleshy stems, which are consumed with the leaves. A. cruentus is grown as a leaf vegetable throughout Southeast Asia, although to a lesser extent than A. tricolor. In Indonesia, it is grown in mountain areas, where the climate is too cold for the more common A. tricolor (Ebert et al., 2011). Grain amaranth, a cultivar group of A. cruentus with yellowish white or pale brown seed, is traditionally grown as a cereal crop in Latin America (e.g. Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia). Since colonial times, it has been successfully introduced as a pseudocereal in India and Nepal, in mountain areas as well as at lower elevations and it has become well established as a popular food plant. Thinnings of young seedlings of the grain crop are frequently used as a vegetable. Grain amaranth is produced commercially in hot and dry areas of the United States, Argentina and China. Apart from some try-outs in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, grain amaranth is not cultivated in Africa. Ornamental types of A. cruentus characterized by big bright-red inflorescences can be frequently found in tropical and subtropical countries.
Presumably native to Central America, A. cruentus is now widespread in tropical and subtropical regions of the world; the red form (which is probably of cultivated derivation) is cultivated as an ornamental in temperate regions also, occasionally escaping there (Townsend, 1985).

Distribution Map

This content is currently unavailable.

Distribution Table

This content is currently unavailable.

History of Introduction and Spread

Amaranthus cruentus is an ancient food and in the famous Tehuacan caves in central Mexico, archaeologists have dug up remains -both the pale grain and the bundles of plants brought in for threshing - at a dozen levels, dating back 5500 years. The species is still grown in the region and popped amaranth seedcakes are sold on the streets of the towns. A. cruentus has also survived as a grain crop in a few Indian villages of southern Mexico and Guatemala and as a crop used to extract a red dye for colouring corn-based foods in the Indian pueblos of the arid southwestern United States, where it probably became established in prehistoric times (National Research Council, 1984).
During the 19th century, this deep-red form was adopted for use as cooked greens by gardeners throughout the tropics. It became a more important crop in tropical Africa than anywhere else. A. cruentus was evidently introduced to Africa by Europeans. But then it passed quickly from tribe to tribe, probably as a weed in millet and sorghum (Sorghum) seed. It outran European exploration of the interior, so that Livingstone and others found it already in cultivation when they arrived. Today, it is being planted and gathered year-round in the humid regions of much of Africa (National Research Council, 1984).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Seed dispersal of Amaranthus species is by wind, farm machinery, water, birds, animals, and the spreading of manure and compost. As both seeds and fruits float easily they are dispersed by raindrops, streamlets produced on the soil by rain, surface irrigation, and water courses. Viable seeds can be dispersed after ingestion and elimination by mammals and birds (Achigan-Dako et al., 2014).

Pathway Causes

Pathway causeNotesLong distanceLocalReferences
Crop production (pathway cause)An important leaf vegetable crop cultivated throughout the tropics; used as a grain in many tropical countries (West Africa, Guatemala, Mexico)YesYes
Food (pathway cause) YesYes
Forage (pathway cause)  Yes 
Medicinal use (pathway cause)Amaranth oil is a powerful antioxidant used as a dietary supplement for diabetes and those suffering from hypertension and metabolic disordersYesYes
Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes 

Pathway Vectors

Pathway vectorNotesLong distanceLocalReferences
Mail (pathway vector) YesYes

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Amaranthus cruentus is part of the so-called A. hybridus aggregate, a group of species in which taxonomic problems are far from clarified, especially because of apparently common hybridization and nomenclatural disorder caused by names being commonly misapplied. Some recognized species of this aggregate are cultivated taxa. A. cruentus is one of these, as are the other grain amaranths, A. caudatus and A. hypochondriacus, A. cruentus also seems to be closely related to A. hybridus, a weed that is its putative progenitor. Transitional forms between these four species can be found (PROTA, 2016).
Although some cultivated forms of A. caudatus-A. quitensis are suspected to be the result of interbreeding with A. cruentus, the South American amaranths are not thought to readily hybridize with the North American members of this cluster (Kole, 2011).

Habitat

In East Africa, A. cruentus [as A. hybridus subsp. cruentus] is described as a weed of cultivation, found on broken waste ground, in short grassland and in shaded places at forest edges, and at elevations of 20-1790 m (Townsend, 1985). In Hawai’i, A. cruentus is an escape from cultivation (Wagner et al., 1999). In New Zealand, it has been observed among crops, in gardens and waste places in settled areas (Webb et al., 1988). In Papua New Guinea, this species is probably associated exclusively with areas under cultivation at altitudes of 1200-2200 m (Womersley, 1978). In the hot, humid regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, southern China, southern India and the Caribbean, A. cruentus is grown as a soup vegetable or for boiled salad greens (pot herbs) (National Research Council, 1984).

Habitat List

CategorySub categoryHabitatPresenceStatus
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedManaged grasslands (grazing systems)Present, no further details 
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areasPresent, no further details 
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedUrban / peri-urban areasPresent, no further details 
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forestsPresent, no further details 
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslandsPresent, no further details 
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalScrub / shrublandsPresent, no further details 

Biology and Ecology

Genetics

Studies based on restriction site variations in nuclear and cytoplasmic DNA found that A. caudatus and A. cruentus are more closely related to each other and to their supposed progenitors than either is to A. hypochondriacus (Lanoue et al., 1996). Isozyme and RAPD markers were used by other authors and tended to agree with the different evolutionary hypothesis presented herein (Ranade et al., 1997; Zheleznov et al., 1997).
The two basic chromosome numbers are observed among the grain crops and their putative progenitors. While A. caudatus, A. hypochondriacus, A. hybridus and A. quitensis have 32 chromosomes (n = 16), A. cruentus and A. powellii both have 34 (n = 17) (Grant, 1959).

Reproductive Biology

Monoecious amaranths are primarily self-pollinated, as female and male flowers are arranged in close proximity (Murray, 1940). Stems are usually erect and both axillary and terminal inflorescences are arranged in cylindrical spikes or panicles (Mosyakin and Robertson, 2003).

Longevity

Amaranthus cruentus is an annual herbaceous species.

Physiology and Phenology

The following information is provided by Grubben (2004):
In cool or dark conditions the seed remains dormant; light and high temperatures break the dormancy. In moist soil above 15°C emergence takes place 3-5 days after sowing. Vegetative development is fast. The genus Amaranthus is characterized by the C4 cycle photosynthetic pathway, giving it a high rate of photosynthesis and excellent water use efficiency at high temperatures and radiation intensity. Water consumption is high due to its rapid growth; a crop with a closed leaf canopy uses about 6 mm/day. Depending on cultivar, day length and cultural practices, flowering may start 4-8 weeks after sowing, making the plant less suitable for consumption. There are at least four times as many female flowers as male flowers. Pollination is affected by wind, but the abundant pollen production causes a high rate of self-pollination. Some pollination is also affected by insects (bees, flies) and up to 40% outcrossing may occur. Seeds mature after 3-5 months and then the plant dies.

Environmental Requirements

The following information is provided by Grubben (2004):
Vegetable amaranths grow well at day temperatures above 25°C and night temperatures not lower than 15°C. In Indonesia, A. cruentus is grown up to elevations of 2000 m. Shade is disadvantageous except in cases of drought stress. Amaranth is a quantitative short-day plant, which is an advantage in the subtropics where the generative stage is retarded during summer. Amaranths like fertile, well-drained soils with a loose structure. The mineral uptake is very high. Although A. cruentus is fairly tolerant of adverse climate and soil conditions, escapes growing as a weed tend to disappear because they cannot compete with true weeds like A. spinosus or A. hybridus.
After seedling emergence, many amaranth cultivars are tolerant to drought and highly wet conditions, but sensitive to complete flooding. Amaranth is photoperiod-sensitive and most species will flower when day lengths are shorter than 12 h. Amaranth grows best in a fertile loam or silty-loam soil with good water-holding capacity, but depending on the species, also adapts to poor soil conditions and low soil moisture levels. The mineral uptake from the soil is high (Ebert et al., 2011).
Evidence indicates that amaranths adapt to many environments and tolerate adversity because they use an especially efficient type of photosynthesis to convert the raw materials of soil, sunlight and water into plant tissues (National Research Council, 1984).

Climate

Climate typeDescriptionPreferred or toleratedRemarks
Af - Tropical rainforest climate> 60mm precipitation per monthPreferred 
Am - Tropical monsoon climateTropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))Preferred 
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer< 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])Preferred 
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate< 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])Preferred 
BS - Steppe climate> 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitationTolerated 
BW - Desert climate< 430mm annual precipitationTolerated 
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summerWarm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summersTolerated 
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winterWarm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)Tolerated 
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all yearWarm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all yearTolerated 
Ds - Continental climate with dry summerContinental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)Tolerated 

List of Pests

This content is currently unavailable.

Notes on Natural Enemies

According to Grubben (2004), wet rot or stem rot caused by the fungus Choanephora cucurbitarum is the main disease in amaranths. Damping-off caused by Pythium aphanidermatum and Rhizoctonia is often serious in seedbeds. Pythium also attacks older plants. No viral diseases have been reported.
A review of the main fungal diseases affecting A. cruentus worldwide and more specifically in Poland is given by Pusz (2007); the most common are leaf spots caused by Alternaria alternata, Phoma levellei [P. leveillei], Phoma medicaginis and a range of other fungi, and stem rot caused by Phomopsis amaranthicola. Leaf and stem blight caused by Phomopsis amaranthophila has been reported in Brazil while Alternaria leaf spot occurs on A. cruentus in Tanzania (Ebert et al., 2011). In Taiwan and other countries, white rust (Albugo bliti [Wilsoniana bliti]) and amaranth anthracnose (Colletotrichum erumpens var. amaranti) may turn into serious diseases (Ebert et al., 2011).
In the USA, the lygus bug (Lygus lineolaris) has severely damaged grain amaranth yields by piercing the developing seed and sucking out the juices (Olson and Wilson, 1990; Wilson and Olson, 1992). Leaf miners have also been found on both grain and vegetable amaranth. In Lucknow, India, serious damage to both grain and vegetable types has often been caused by spider mites. The stem weevil (Lixus truncatulus [H. truncatulus]) is a major pest of amaranth; its grubs damage foliage and roots and cause the plants to wilt. Leaf rotters (H. recurvalis [S. recurvalis]) also cause considerable damage during rainy seasons (National Research Council, 1984). Infestations of the weevil, Conotrachelus seniculus, were observed on the roots of A. cruentus in Arizona in 1984 (Terry and Lee, 1990). Significant damage to cultivated A. cruentus in southern Nigeria (Agunloye and Osisanya, 1985) and Brazil (Oliveira et al., 2012) by Herpetogramma bipunctalis has been documented.
Bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia solanacearum has been reported on A. cruentus in Benin (Sikirou et al., 2019).

Natural enemies

Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Spodoptera litura (taro caterpillar)Herbivore
Leaves
not specific   
Helicoverpa armigera (cotton bollworm)Herbivore
Seeds
not specific   
Hypolixus truncatulusPathogen
Seeds
Stems
Leaves
Roots
not specific   
Choanephora cucurbitarum (Choanephora fruit rot)Pathogen
Roots
Leaves
not specific   
Spoladea recurvalis (Hawaiian beet webworm)Herbivore
Stems
not specific   
Phoma medicaginisPathogen
Leaves
not specific   
Alternaria alternata (alternaria leaf spot)Pathogen
Leaves
not specific   
Albugo blitiPathogen
Stems
Leaves
not specific   
Lygus lineolaris (tarnished plant bug)Herbivore
Seeds
not specific   
Herpetogramma bipunctalis (beet leafroller)Herbivore
Stems
not specific   

Impact: Environmental

Amaranthus cruentus is listed as invasive in China, Israel and Italy with evidence of impact although no specific details are available (Celesti-Grapow et al., 2009; Xu et al., 2012Dufour-Dror and Fragman-Spair, 2017; GBIF, 2020). According to PIER (2018) this species is also invasive in New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines but further details of its impact have not been provided. Although A. cruentus is noted as an agricultural weed in some countries, there is no specific information on its economic or environmental impact. In Italy, it is a weed in soyabean and maize fields and reported to have developed resistance to common herbicides (Zanin et al., 1981; Zanin et al., 1984; Sattin and Zanin, 2003).       

Risk and Impact Factors

Invasiveness

Proved invasive outside its native range
Has a broad native range
Abundant in its native range
Highly adaptable to different environments
Is a habitat generalist
Fast growing
Has high reproductive potential
Has high genetic variability

Likelihood of entry/control

Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

Amaranthus cruentus is useful as a grain or a leafy vegetable. The grain types have white seeds; the vegetable types (as well as those used to extract red dye) usually are dark seeded. It is probably the most adaptable of all amaranth species, e.g. it flowers under a wider range of daylengths than the others (National Research Council, 1984). is used as an African leafy vegetable (Grubben and van Sloten, 1981) and also widely grown as a dye plant, ornamental and pot herb in Central America, Europe, China, India, southeast Asia, and Africa. The leaves and the softest portions of the shoots are usually boiled in several changes of water and then separated from the cooking liquid (Martin and Telek, 1979) though they traditionally are steamed in Uganda (Stafford et al., 1976). Amaranth leaves are combined with condiments to prepare soup in Nigeria (Okiei and Adamson, 1979; Oke, 1983); used in salad, boiled and mixed with a groundnut (Arachis hypogaea) sauce in Mozambique (Oliveira and de Carvalho, 1975) or pureed into a sauce and served over vegetables in West Africa (Martin and Telek, 1979). In Ethiopia, A. cruentus is used as a tapeworm expellant while in Sudan ash from the stems is used as a wound dressing (Achigan-Dako et al., 2014). In Gabon heated leaves are used on tumours (Grubben, 2004).
Amaranthus cruentus is an important leaf vegetable crop cultivated throughout the tropics (Grubben and van Sloten, 1981). The leaves are rich in vitamin A, calcium and potassium (Early, 1997). The seeds of grain amaranth are valued for their high protein content (up to 15%) (Musa et al., 2014). A. cruentus is used in Mexico to produce typical sweets called alegría, in which the amaranth grains are toasted and mixed with honey or chocolate (Maestri, 2014). The economic value of A. cruentus as a popular market vegetable ranks high. From market surveys, it appears as one of the main African leafy vegetables, possibly the number one in quantity and area. No statistical data are available, since in most cases all leaf vegetables are recorded as one single group. In national or FAO statistics, they are not recorded at all. Correct registration is hampered by the short growing period (3-6 weeks), scattered occurrence of small plots of cultivation and the dispersed sales in small street markets. In the big cities in Benin, the average quantity of fresh leafy vegetables bought daily at the markets was 42 g/head/day, 31% of which was A. cruentus. There is some unregistered export of amaranth from African countries, as well as from Latin America (Caribbean, Suriname) to Western Europe (PROTA, 2016). 
The potential of grain and vegetable amaranth as a food resource has been reviewed extensively by Haas and Kauffman (1984), Saunders and Becker (1983), National Research Council (1984) and Sánchez Marroquín (1980). Dye use seems limited to cultures that do not grow amaranth as a grain crop (Sauer, 1950). The red dye from amaranth leaves is used to colour alcoholic beverages in Bolivia and north western Argentina, to colour maize (Zea mays) dough in Mexico and the southwestern United States (Sauer, 1950) and to dye foods and beverages in Ecuador (Jain and Hauptli, 1980).
Amaranth is high in protein, lysine, calcium, iron and fibre, all of which are useful as functional ingredient in cereal products. Amaranth oil is high in squalene, a powerful antioxidant used as a dietary supplement for diabetes and those suffering from hypertension and metabolic disorders (Pal and Khoshoo, 1974; Teutonico and Knorr, 1985). A. cruentus forage meal and extruded grains have been used as feed ingredients for broilers (Tillman and Waldroup, 1988; Fraga et al., 1993; Miazzo et al., 1994).  

Uses List

Ornamental > Seed trade
Human food and beverage > Cereal
Human food and beverage > Vegetable
Animal feed, fodder, forage > Fodder/animal feed
General > Botanical garden/zoo
Materials > Essential oils
Medicinal, pharmaceutical > Traditional/folklore
Human food and beverage > Leaves (for beverage)
Human food and beverage > Seeds
Animal feed, fodder, forage > Forage
Genetic importance > Related to
Ornamental > Potted plant
Materials > Dyestuffs

Prevention and Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Solymosi (2000) reported that chamazulene showed excellent phytotoxic activity against A. cruentus with a post-emergence application of 100 ml/12.5 m2. Pyridate was found to provide effective control of A. cruentus in field studies in Andalusia, Spain (Giménez-Espinosa and De Prado, 1997). Trials in maize fields in Egypt showed that acetochlor (750 ml/feddan) gave good control of A. cruentus (Mahmoud, 2010). 

Links to Websites

References

Achigan-Dako, E. G., Sogbohossou, O. E. D., Maundu, P., 2014. Current knowledge on Amaranthus spp.: research avenues for improved nutritional value and yield in leafy amaranths in sub-Saharan Africa.Euphytica, 197(3) 303-317.
Agunloye, O., Osisanya, E. O., 1985. Pirimiphos-methyl in the control of Psara bipunctalis F. on Amaranthus cruentus in southern Nigeria.Tropical Pest Management, 31(3) 196-198, 248, 252.
Celesti-Grapow, L., Alessandrini, A., Arrigoni, P. V., Banfi, E., Bernardo, L., Bovio, M., Brundu, G., Cagiotti, M. R., Camarda, I., Carli, E., Conti, F., Fascetti, S., Galasso, G., Gubellini, L., Valva, V. la, Lucchese, F., Marchiori, S., Mazzola, P., Peccenini, S., Poldini, L., Pretto, F., Prosser, F., Siniscalco, C., Villani, M. C., Viegi, L., Wilhalm, T. (et al), 2009. Inventory of the non-native flora of Italy.Plant Biosystems, 143(2) 386-430.
Dufour-Dror, JM, Fragman-Sapir, O, 2017. Alien plant species in natural and disturbed areas in Israel. Israel. 8 pp. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319416709_Alien_Plant_Species_in_Natural_and_Disturbed_Areas_in_Israel_Second_edition_August_2017
Early DK, 1997. Cultivation and uses of Amaranth in contemporary Mexico. In: Proceedings of the first Amaranth Seminar [Proceedings of the first Amaranth Seminar]. Emmaus, USA: Rodale Press. 39.
Ebert AW, Wu T, Wang S, 2011. Vegetable amaranth (Amaranthus L.). AVRDC Publication NNo. 11-754. Tainan, Taiwan: AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center.
Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015. Flora of North America North of Mexico. St. Louis, Missouri; Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1
Fraga, L. M., Ramos, N., Venereo, M., Valdivié, M., Martínez, R. O., Sistachs, M., 1993. Amaranthus (Amaranthus cruentus) forage meal in diets for broilers.Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science, 27(2) 193-198.
GBIF, 2020. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. In: Global Biodiversity Information Facility. http://www.gbif.org/species
Giménez-Espinosa, R., Prado, R. de, 1997. Use of new herbicides in chickpea. In: 1997 Brighton crop protection conference: weeds. Proceedings of an international conference, Brighton, UK, 17-20 November 1997. [1997 Brighton crop protection conference: weeds. Proceedings of an international conference, Brighton, UK, 17-20 November 1997.], Volume 2Farnham, UK: British Crop Protection Council. 879-884.
Grant, W. F., 1959. Cytogenetic studies in Amaranthus. III. Chromosome numbers and phylogenetic aspects.Canadian Journal of Genetics and Cytology, 1313-28.
Grubben, G. J. H., Sloten, D. H. van, 1981. Report, International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, No.AGP:IBPGR/80/2 57 pp.
Grubben, GJH, 2004. Amaranthus cruentus. In: Plant resources of tropical Africa. Volume 2: Vegetables, [ed. by Grubben, GJH, Denton, OA]. Wageningen, Netherlands: PROTA Foundation. 67-72.
Haas P, Kauffman CS, 1984. Grain amaranth: an overview of research and production methods. Emmaus, USA: Rodale Press.
Jain SK, Hauptli H, 1980. Grain amaranth: a new crop for California. Agronomy Progress Report 107. Davis, USA: Agricultural Experimental Station, University of California.
Kole C, 2011. Wild crop relatives: genomic and breeding resource. Vegetables, [ed. by Kole C]. Berlin, Germany: Springer.
Lanoue, K. Z., Wolf, P. G., Browning, S., Hood, E. E., 1996. Phylogenetic analysis of restriction-site variation in wild and cultivated Amaranthus species (Amaranthaceae).Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 93(5/6) 722-732.
Maestri N, 2014. Amaranth: origins and use of amaranth in prehistoric America. https://www.thoughtco.com/amaranth-origin-169487
Mahmoud, M. S., 2010. Efficiency of some herbicide treatments on maize weeds, yield and yield components.Alexandria Journal of Agricultural Research, 55(3) 51-58.
Marin, D. I., Bolohan, C., Mihalache, M., Rusu, T., 2011. Research on Amaranthus cruentus L. and Amararanthus hypochondriacus L. species grown in south-eastern Romania (Moara Domneasca-Ilfov).Scientific Papers - Series A, Agronomy, 54297-303. http://agronomyjournal.usamv.ro/pdf/issue2011.pdf
Martin FW, Telek L, 1979. Vegetables for the hot humid tropics. Part 6: Amaranth and Celosia. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA: Science and Education Administration, US Department of Agriculture.
Miazzo, R. D., Kraft, S., Moschetti, E., 1994. Use of amounts (Amaranthus cruentus) as a substitute for maize in finishing diets for broiler chickens. (Utilización del amaranto (Amaranthus cruentus) crudo o cocido como sustituto del maíz en una dieta para terminador de parrilleros.) Revista Argentina de Producción Animal, 14(1/2) 1-5.
Mosyakin SL, Robertson KR, 2003. Amaranthus Linnaeus. In: Flora of North America. Magnoliophyta: Caryophyllidae, 4 [ed. by Flora of North America Editorial Committee]. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. 410-435.
Murray, M. J., 1940. The genetics of sex determination in the family Amaranthaceae.Genetics., 25409-431.
Musa, M., Ajit Singh, Aminu Aliyu Lawal, 2014. Influence of priming duration on the performance of amaranths (Amaranthus cruentus L.) in Sokoto semiarid zone of Nigeria.International Journal of Agronomy, 2014Article ID 475953.
National Research Council, 1984. Amaranth: modern prospects for an ancient crop. Washington DC, USA: National Academy Press. x + 80 pp.
Oke OL, 1983. Amaranth. In: Handbook of tropical foods, [ed. by Chan HT]. New York, USA: Marcel Dekker.
Okiei, W., Adamson, I., 1979. Nitrate-nitrite, vitamin C and in-vitro methemoglobin formation from some vegetables.Nutrition Reports International, 19(2) 241-248.
Oliveira, C. M. de, Ribeiro Júnior, W. Q., Camargo, A. J. A. de, Frizzas, M. R., 2012. First record of damage by an insect pest in a commercial amaranth crop in Brazil.Scientia Agricola, 69(4) 271-274.
Oliveira, J. S., Carvalho, M. F. de, 1975. Nutritional value of some edible leaves used in Mozambique.Economic Botany, 29(3) 255-263.
Olson, D. L., Wilson, R. L., 1990. Tarnished plant bug (Hemiptera: Miridae): effect on seed weight of grain amaranth.Journal of Economic Entomology, 83(6) 2443-2447.
PIER, 2018. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. In: Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk.Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html
PROTA, 2016. PROTA4U web database. In: PROTA4U web database.Wageningen and Nairobi, Netherlands\Kenya: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. https://www.prota4u.org/database/
Pal M, Khoshoo TM, 1974. Grain amaranths. In: Evolutionary studies in world crops: diversity and change in the Indian sub continent, [ed. by Hutchinson J]. London, UK: Cambridge University Press. 129-138.
Pusz, W., 2007. Fungal diseases of red amaranth. (Choroby grzybowe szarłatu krwistego.) Ochrona Roślin, 52(5) 24-26.
Ranade, S. A., Anil Kumar, Mamta Goswami, Nuzhat Farooqui, Sane, P. V., 1997. Genome analysis of amaranths: determination of inter- and intra-species variations.Journal of Biosciences, 22(4) 457-464.
Sattin, M., Zanin, G., 2003. The situation of herbicide resistant weeds in Italy. (Il punto sulla resistenza delle malerbe agli erbicidi in Italia.) Informatore Fitopatologico, 53(1) 24-27.
Sauer JD, 1950. Amaranths as dye plants among the Pueblo peoples. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 6412-415.
Sauer, J. D., 1967. The grain amaranths and their relatives: a revised taxonomic and geographic survey.Ann. Mo. Bot. Gdn., 54(2) 103-37.
Saunders, R. M., Becker, R., 1983. Amaranthus: a potential food and feed resource. In: Advances in cereal science and technology. Vol. VI, [ed. by Pomeranz, Y.]. St. Paul, Minnesota, USA: American Association of Cereal Chemists. 357-396.
Sikirou, R., Dossoumou, M. E. E. A., Zocli, B., Afari-Sefa, V., Honfoga, J., Azoma, K., Chen, J. R., Paret, M. L., Bihon, W., 2019. First report of bacterial wilt of Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) caused by Ralstonia solanacearum in Benin.Plant Disease, 103(3) 578.
Solymosi, P., 2000. Herbicidal activity of chamazulene. (Kontakt hatású természetes vegyület a kamazulén.) Növényvédelem, 36(3) 119-123.
Stafford, W. L., Mugerwa, J. S., Bwabye, R., 1976. Effects of methods of cooking, application of nitrogen fertiliser and maturity on certain nutrients in the leaves of Amaranthus hybridus sub-species hybridus (Green Head).Plant Foods for Man, 2(1/2) 7-13.
Stevens, P. F., 2020. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14. In: Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/
Sánchez Marroquín A, 1980. Potencialidad agroindustrial del amaranto. Mexico: Centro de Estudios Económicos y Sociales del Tercer Mundo. 238 pp.
Terry, L. I., Lee, C. W., 1990. Infestation of cultivated Amaranthus by the weevil Conotrachelus seniculus in southeastern Arizona.Southwestern Entomologist, 15(1) 27-31.
Teutonico, R. A., Knorr, D., 1985. Amaranth: composition, properties, and applications of a rediscovered food crop.Food Technology, 39(4) 49...61.
Tillman, P. B., Waldroup, P. W., 1988. Assessment of extruded grain amaranth as a feed ingredient for broilers. 1. Apparent metabolizable energy values.Poultry Science, 67(4) 641-646.
Townsend CC, 1985. Amaranthaceae. In: Flora of tropical East Africa, [ed. by Polhill RM]. Rotterdam, Netherlands: AA Balkema.
USDA-ARS, 2016. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database.Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx
Wagner, W. L., Herbst, D. R., Sohmer, S. H., 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, Vols. 1 and 2, Edn 2Honolulu, USA: University of Hawai'i and Bishop Museum Press. xviii + 1919 pp.
Webb, C. J., Sykes, W. R., Garnock-Jones, P. J., 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Volume IV: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Christchurch, New Zealand: Botany Division, DSIR. 1365 pp. http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%204.xml
Wilson, R. L., Olson, D. L., 1992. Tarnished plant bug, Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois) (Hemiptera: Miridae): effects on yield of grain amaranth, Amaranthus cruentus L., in field cages.Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 65(4) 450-452.
Womersley JS, 1978. Handbooks of the flora of Papua New Guinea. Volume I, [ed. by Womersley JS]. Australia: Melbourne University Press. xvii + 278 pp.
Xu HaiGen, Qiang Sheng, Genovesi, P., Ding Hui, Wu Jun, Meng Ling, Han ZhengMin, Miao JinLai, Hu BaiShi, Guo JiangYing, Sun HongYing, Huang Cheng, Lei JunCheng, Le ZhiFang, Zhang XiaoPing, He ShunPing, Wu Yi, Zheng Zhou, Chen Lian, Jarošík, V., Pyšek, P., 2012. An inventory of invasive alien species in China.NeoBiota, No.151-26. http://www.pensoft.net/journals/neobiota/article/3575/an-inventory-of-invasive-alien-species-in-china
Zanin, G., Molle, I., Vazzana, C., 1984. Distribution and spread of atrazine-resistant broadleaved weeds in Italy. (Distribution et extension des dicotylédones adventices résistantes à l'atrazine en Italie.) In: Comptes rendus du 7ème colloque international sur l'écologie, la biologie et la systématique des mauvaises herbes. [Comptes rendus du 7ème colloque international sur l'écologie, la biologie et la systématique des mauvaises herbes.] Paris, France: COLUMA/EWRS. 273-280.
Zanin, G., Vecchio, V., Gasquez, J., 1981. Experimental research on atrazine-resistant populations of broad-leaved weeds. (Indagini sperimentali su popolazione di dicotiledoni resistenti all' atrazina.) Rivista di Agronomia, 15(3-4) 196-207.
Zheleznov, A. V., Solonenko, L. P., Zheleznova, N. B., 1997. Seed proteins of the wild and the cultivated Amaranthus species.Euphytica, 97(2) 177-182.

Information & Authors

Information

Published In

History

Published online: 5 May 2015

Language

English

Authors

Affiliations

Eduardo Ventosa-Febles

Metrics & Citations

Metrics

VIEW ALL METRICS

SCITE_

Citations

Export citation

Select the format you want to export the citations of this publication.

EXPORT CITATIONS

View Options

View options

Get Access

Login Options

Restore your content access

Enter your email address to restore your content access:

Note: This functionality works only for purchases done as a guest. If you already have an account, log in to access the content to which you are entitled.

Media

Figures

Other

Tables

Share

Share

Copy the content Link

Share on social media

Related Articles

Skip the navigation