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African amaranth, muricate amaranth

Habit Plants annual or short-lived perennial, glabrous or slightly pubescent near tips.

ascending or prostrate, much-branched from stout rootstock, 0.1–0.4 m.


petiole to 1/2 as long as blade;

blade linear to narrowly lanceolate, 1.5–8 × 0.2–0.5(–1) mm, base tapering, margins entire, plane to undulate, apex obtuse and often emarginate.


of pistillate flowers linear, 0.7–1.2 mm, 1/2–2/3 as long as tepals.


terminal, compact pyramidal panicles and axillary glomerules, erect or reflexed, green, leafless at least distally.

Staminate flowers

intermixed with pistillate or at tips of inflorescences;

tepals 5;

stamens 5.

Pistillate flowers

tepals 5, narrowly oblanceolate, not clawed, equal, 1.5–2 mm, apex obtuse or subacute;

style branches erect;

stigmas 3.


black, lenticular, 1–1.2 mm diam., semiglossy.


compressed, subglobose, 1.7–2 mm, ± equaling or slightly exceeding tepals, muricate, indehiscent.

Amaranthus muricatus

Phenology Flowering summer–fall.
Habitat Waste places, on ballast
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
from FNA
AL; s South America (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay) [Introduced in North America; introduced in s Europe, s Africa, Australia, and other regions]
[BONAP county map]

The vernacular name “African amaranth” is sometimes used for this species; it is a misnomer; the species is native to South America and naturalized in Africa.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 4, p. 431.
Parent taxa Amaranthaceae > Amaranthus > subg. Albersia
Sibling taxa
A. acanthochiton, A. albus, A. arenicola, A. australis, A. blitoides, A. blitum, A. californicus, A. cannabinus, A. caudatus, A. crassipes, A. crispus, A. cruentus, A. deflexus, A. dubius, A. fimbriatus, A. floridanus, A. graecizans, A. greggii, A. hybridus, A. hypochondriacus, A. obcordatus, A. palmeri, A. polygonoides, A. powellii, A. pumilus, A. retroflexus, A. scleropoides, A. spinosus, A. tamaulipensis, A. thunbergii, A. torreyi, A. tricolor, A. tuberculatus, A. viridis, A. viscidulus, A. watsonii, A. wrightii
Synonyms Euxolus muricatus
Name authority (Moquin-Tandon) Hieronymus: Pl. Diaph. Fl. Argent., 227. (1882)
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