Scientific Name:
Amaranthus cruentus L.
Vernacular Name(s):
Grain amaranth

Annual, often much-branched, erect herb, to  c. 1 m high, glabrous or nearly so (apart from infl. rhachis).  Petioles of lower lvs to c. 10 cm long.  Lamina of middle and upper cauline lvs 3–8 × 1–6 cm, lanceolate, ovate or rhombic, often red-tinged, glabrous at maturity;  base cuneate; apex obtuse to acute.  Infl. a dense spike-like panicle, interrupted towards the base, ± crimson, usually with a few branches, but simpler in plants on impoverished soils;  main spike to c. 25 cm high, drooping towards apex;  lateral spikes c. 10 cm or more, also drooping.  Rhachis hairy. Longer bracteoles 3–4 mm long, ovate;  apex subulate;  keel greenish to red;  shorter bracteoles similar.  Tepals (4)–5, subequal, 1.5–2.3 mm long, scarcely imbricate, slightly larger in ♂ fls, oblong or obovate-oblong;  keel darker than rest of tepal;  apex obtuse, acute or mucronate.  Stigmas 3, > perianth.  Fr. ± broadly ellipsoid, = or < perianth, circumscissile, ± rounded at apex.  Seed 1–1.3 mm diam., orbicular, shining dark brown.  

[From:  Webb et al. (1988) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 4.]


Flowering: Dec.–May.