Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Amaranthus caudatus
(love-lies-bleeding)

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Datasheet

Amaranthus caudatus (love-lies-bleeding)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 14 February 2021
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Documented Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Amaranthus caudatus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • love-lies-bleeding
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Amaranthus caudatus is an annual herbaceous plant generally believed to have originated from Central to South America. There is no information in the literature about its invasiveness. While reported as naturalized in some US states, most...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Habit, growing in a field of pumpkins. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
TitleHabit
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Habit, growing in a field of pumpkins. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
Copyright©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Habit, growing in a field of pumpkins. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
HabitAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Habit, growing in a field of pumpkins. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences and foliage. Montreal Botanical Garden, Canada. September 2009.
TitleInflorescences and foliage
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences and foliage. Montreal Botanical Garden, Canada. September 2009.
Copyright©Quinn Dombrowski/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 2.5
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences and foliage. Montreal Botanical Garden, Canada. September 2009.
Inflorescences and foliageAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences and foliage. Montreal Botanical Garden, Canada. September 2009.©Quinn Dombrowski/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 2.5
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.
TitleFlowering Habit
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.
Copyright©Tubifex/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 3.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.
Flowering HabitAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.©Tubifex/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 3.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
Title
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
Copyright©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
TitleInflorescences
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
Copyright©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
InflorescencesAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Leaf. Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge. UK. July 2010.
TitleLeaf
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Leaf. Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge. UK. July 2010.
Copyright©Magnus Manske/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 2.5
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Leaf. Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge. UK. July 2010.
LeafAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Leaf. Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge. UK. July 2010.©Magnus Manske/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 2.5
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
TitleInflorescences
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
Copyright©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
InflorescencesAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescences. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.
TitleFlowering Habit
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.
Copyright©Tubifex/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 3.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.
Flowering HabitAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.©Tubifex/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 3.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.
TitleFlowering Habit
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.
Copyright©Tubifex/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 3.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.
Flowering HabitAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Flowering Habit. Botanical Garden Bremen, Germany. September 2009.©Tubifex/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 3.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescence viewed under stereo microscope. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescence viewed under stereo microscope. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
Copyright©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescence viewed under stereo microscope. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
InflorescenceAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescence viewed under stereo microscope. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescence viewed under stereo microscope. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescence viewed under stereo microscope. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
Copyright©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescence viewed under stereo microscope. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
InflorescenceAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Inflorescence viewed under stereo microscope. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Floret. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
TitleFloret
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Floret. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
Copyright©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Floret. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
FloretAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Floret. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Opened capsule with seed. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
TitleSeed
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Opened capsule with seed. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
Copyright©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Opened capsule with seed. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
SeedAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Opened capsule with seed. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Seeds. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
TitleSeeds
CaptionAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Seeds. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
Copyright©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Amaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Seeds. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.
SeedsAmaranthus caudatus (Love-lies-bleeding); Seeds. Schleinbach, Mistelbach, Austria. September 2016.©Stefan lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Amaranthus caudatus L.

Preferred Common Name

  • love-lies-bleeding

Other Scientific Names

  • Amaranthus abyssinicus L.H.Bailey
  • Amaranthus alopecurus Hochst. ex A.Br. & C.D.Bouché
  • Amaranthus cararu Moq.
  • Amaranthus dussii Sprenger
  • Amaranthus edulis Speg.
  • Amaranthus edulis var. spadiceus Hunz.
  • Amaranthus hybridus var. leucocarpus (S.Watson) Hunz.
  • Amaranthus leucocarpus S.Watson
  • Amaranthus mantegazzianus Pass.
  • Amaranthus maximus Mill.
  • Amaranthus pendulinus Moq.
  • Amaranthus pendulus Moq.
  • Euxolus arvensis Rojas Acosta

International Common Names

  • English: foxtail; foxtail amaranth; garden amaranth; Inca wheat; purple amaranth; red-hot-cattail
  • Spanish: mosca de pavo; quelite bledo; trigo del inca
  • French: amarante des jardins
  • Portuguese: choroes-dos-jardines; rabo-de-gato

Local Common Names

  • French: discipline des religieux
  • Bolivia: coimi; grano inca; millmi
  • Brazil: disciplina-de-freira
  • China: lao qiang gu
  • Cuba: bledo francés
  • Czech Republic: laskavec ocasatý
  • Ecuador: quinua de castilla; sangorache
  • Germany: Fuchsschwanz- Amarant; Garten- Fuchsschwanz; Gartenfuchsschwanz; Geschwaenzter Fuchsschwanz
  • Italy: Amaranto codato
  • Japan: sennin-koku
  • Mexico: alegría; huanthi
  • Netherlands: kattestaartamarant
  • Peru: achis; coyo; kiwicha; quihuicha
  • Poland: szarłat zwisły
  • Slovakia: láskavec chvostnatý
  • Sweden: rävsvans ; rød amarant

EPPO code

  • AMACA (Amaranthus caudatus)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Amaranthus caudatus is an annual herbaceous plant generally believed to have originated from Central to South America. There is no information in the literature about its invasiveness. While reported as naturalized in some US states, most specimens identified as A. caudatus are referrable to A. hybridus or other native species. This species is reported as infesting vegetable and field crops in Egypt.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Caryophyllales
  •                         Family: Amaranthaceae
  •                             Genus: Amaranthus
  •                                 Species: Amaranthus caudatus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Amaranthus comprises about 70 species, of which about 40 are native to the Americas. It includes at least 17 species with edible leaves and three grain amaranths. A. caudatus is part of the so-called A. hybridus aggregate, a group of species in which taxonomic problems are far from clarified, especially because of common hybridization and names often being misapplied. Some recognized species of this aggregate are cultivated taxa. A. caudatus is one of these, as are the other grain amaranths, A. cruentus and A. hypochondriacus. A. caudatus can be distinguished by its usually long and pendant terminal spike and comparatively broad tepals of female flowers. A classification in cultivar groups might be more appropriate for the cultivated taxa (Agong, 2006).

The widely distributed, weedy species A. hybridus has been suggested as the progenitor of A. caudatus (Coons, 1982). A number of subspecies and varieties are recognized (World Flora Online, 2020). About 50 species of Amaranthus  can be found in the warmer temperate and subtropical regions of the world, with some being more or less cosmopolitan weeds (Liogier, 1985). In the Caribbean, 22 species of the Amaranthaceae family are found; of  these, 18 are native and one is endemic (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012).

Description

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The following description is from Liogier (1985):

Annual herb, erect, to 1.5 m tall, commonly reddish or purple throughout; stems and leaves glabrous or more or less sparingly pilose; leaves long-petiolate, lamina broadly ovate to rhomboid-ovate or ovate-elliptic. 2.5-15 cm long. 1-8 cm broad, obtuse to subacute at the mucronulate apex, shortly cuneate at base, flowers in axillary or terminal red or green spikes formed of cymose clusters, the terminal inflorescence often tail-like, pendulous spike to 30 cm or more long; bracts and bracteoles deltoid-ovate, acuminate, with a rigid arista; perianth segments 5; capsule 2-2.5 mm long, ovoid-globose, circumsessile; seeds black, shiny.

Plant Type

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Annual
Herbaceous

Distribution

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The origin of A. caudatus remains uncertain. It is generally believed that it originated in South America or Central America from some unspecified wild race of the A. hybridus aggregate, probably South American A. quitensis (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2016). This species is cultivated elsewhere except cold-temperate, subarctic and arctic zones (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2016). However, cultivation of this pseudocereal is declining in South America (Coons, 1982).

Amaranthus caudatus is one of the most popular domesticated amaranths and is cultivated primarily as an ornamental and to a lesser degree, as a pseudocereal. This species may occur locally, usually close to places of cultivation and mostly in the southern regions. No reliable records of their successful naturalization are available. It is impossible at present to trace records of such ephemeral populations and individual escapes (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2016).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Feb 2022
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

EgyptPresentIntroducedWeed infesting vegetable and field crops
EthiopiaPresentIntroduced
NigeriaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
SudanPresentIntroduced

Asia

ChinaPresentIntroduced
-AnhuiPresentIntroduced
-BeijingPresentIntroduced
-FujianPresentIntroduced
-GansuPresentIntroduced
-GuangdongPresentIntroduced
-GuangxiPresentIntroduced
-GuizhouPresentIntroduced
-HainanPresentIntroduced
-HebeiPresentIntroduced
-HeilongjiangPresentIntroduced
-HenanPresentIntroduced
-HubeiPresentIntroduced
-HunanPresentIntroduced
-Inner MongoliaPresentIntroduced
-JiangsuPresentIntroduced
-JiangxiPresentIntroduced
-JilinPresentIntroduced
-LiaoningPresentIntroduced
-NingxiaPresentIntroduced
-QinghaiPresentIntroduced
-ShaanxiPresentIntroduced
-ShandongPresentIntroduced
-ShanghaiPresentIntroduced
-ShanxiPresentIntroduced
-SichuanPresentIntroduced
-TianjinPresentIntroduced
-XinjiangPresentIntroduced
-YunnanPresentIntroduced
-ZhejiangPresentIntroduced
Hong KongPresentIntroduced
IndiaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedSouth India
-Himachal PradeshPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
-Jammu and KashmirPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
-KarnatakaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
-MaharashtraPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
-RajasthanPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
-Uttar PradeshPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
North KoreaPresentIntroduced1974
South KoreaPresent
TaiwanPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced

Europe

AustriaPresentIntroducedFirst reported: <1780
BelgiumPresentIntroduced1874
CyprusPresentIntroduced1900
CzechiaPresentIntroduced1838
EstoniaPresentIntroduced1807
MontenegroPresentIntroduced
NorwayPresentIntroduced1946
PortugalPresentIntroduced1897
-MadeiraPresentIntroduced1894
RomaniaPresentIntroduced1878
RussiaPresentIntroduced1895
SlovakiaPresentIntroducedCultivated
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroducedFirst reported: 1990's
SwedenPresentIntroduced1898
United KingdomPresentIntroduced1908

North America

BarbadosPresentIntroduced
BelizePresentIntroduced
British Virgin IslandsPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedTórtola
CanadaPresentIntroduced1982
CubaPresentIntroduced
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedAlta Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Jutiapa, Quetzaltenango, Quiché, Retalhueu, Sacatepéquez, San Marcos, Zapaca
HondurasPresentIntroduced
MartiniquePresentIntroduced
MexicoPresentIntroducedChiapas
Puerto RicoPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced
United StatesPresentIntroducedPresent, based on regional distribution
-ArizonaPresentIntroduced
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced
-ConnecticutPresentIntroduced
-FloridaPresentIntroducedAlachua County
-IllinoisPresentIntroduced
-KansasPresentIntroduced
-MainePresentIntroduced
-MassachusettsPresentIntroduced
-MichiganPresentIntroduced
-MissouriPresentIntroducedSaint Louis City
-MontanaPresentIntroduced
-New YorkPresentIntroduced
-OregonPresentIntroduced
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroduced
-TennesseePresentIntroduced
-WisconsinPresentIntroduced

Oceania

AustraliaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeMendoza, La Pampa
BoliviaPresentNativeChuquisaca, La Paz, Potosí, Tarija
BrazilPresentNative
ColombiaPresentNativeAntioquia
EcuadorPresentNativeAzuay, Loja, Pichincha
French GuianaPresentNative
PeruPresentNativeTacna, Puerto Grau
SurinamePresentNative

History of Introduction and Spread

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Species cultivated for grain include A. hypochondriacus, A. caudatus, A. edulis and A. cruentus; these are considered to have been cultivated by the Aztecs and pre-Columbian Mexicans and to have been introduced into India from Europe in the 19th century (Mathai, 1978). A. caudatus was introduced into Europe in the 16th century and spread to Africa and Asia later. The cultivated area has notably decreased over the years, but A. caudatus has remained a grain crop in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. It is occasionally grown as a grain crop in Asia and Africa. As an ornamental, it is grown throughout much of the tropics and in some temperate regions.

Habitat

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Amaranthus caudatus grows best in full sun but can tolerate a variety of conditions, both humid and arid. It rarely occurs as an escape from cultivation, persisting near the places of cultivation (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2016).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Amaranthus caudatus shows wide genetic variation and diversity of plant form, ranging from erect to completely decumbent. Two types have been distinguished: subsp. caudatus, the main type and subsp. mantegazzianus, grown as a grain crop in the valleys of the Andes in north-western Argentina. The latter can be distinguished by its determinate club-shaped inflorescence branches, due to a single recessive gene. According to some, it should be considered as a separate species A. mantegazzianus, an opinion which is  supported by the results of seed protein studies (Agong, 2006).

Reproductive Biology

Reproduction is by seed, flowering occurs in summer-autumn (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2016).

Physiology and Phenology

Germination of A. caudatus seed accelerates with increasing temperature in the range 5-35°C; no germination occurs at 0°C. Seedlings normally emerge 3-5 days after sowing and early growth is slow. Flowering begins 60-110 days after emergence. Outcrossing rates of 6-29% have been recorded in A. caudatus. The total crop duration in Peru ranges from 3-4 months at an altitude of 1800 m, to 9 months at an altitude of 3200 m; in Kenya it is normally 80-90 days. A single plant may yield more than 50,000 seeds. A. caudatus is a C4-cycle plant, giving higher yields at higher light intensities and temperatures and being efficient in water use (Agong, 2006).

Longevity

Amaranthus caudatus is a bushy, erect annual (PFAF, 2019) or biennial (Royal Horticultural Society, 2021).  

Environmental Requirements

In the tropics, A. caudatus performs well under cool, dry highland conditions. It is more tolerant to chilling than the other two grain amaranths and is grown at higher altitudes. In East Africa, it is found at altitudes of 500-2500 m; in South America at 1000-3200 m. In Peru, it is grown in regions with an average annual rainfall of 550 mm. The photoperiodic response is marked, with flowering being promoted by short photoperiods. A. caudatus can be grown in sandy and clay soils. In general, grain amaranths prefer well-drained neutral or alkaline soils (pH>6), but some types are well adapted to acid and mildly saline soils (Agong, 2006).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Tolerated < 430mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 16 35

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall4001000mm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Diabrotica speciosa Herbivore Plants|Leaves not specific
Hypolixus nubilosus Herbivore Plants|Roots; Plants|Stems Tawfik et al. (1976)
Hypolixus truncatulus Herbivore Plants|Leaves Tara et al. (2009)
Lewia infectoria Pathogen Plants|Inflorescence; Plants|Seeds not specific Noelting et al. (2012)
Pythium aphanidermatum Pathogen Plants|Stems Noelting and Sandoval (2007)
Spodoptera Herbivore Plants|Leaves not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Fungal diseases in A. caudatus have been observed to be caused by Alternaria, Mycoplasma and Sclerotinia spp. Pests causing economic damage to grain amaranths are mainly leaf-eating caterpillars (Heliothis, Hymenia, Spodoptera), stinkbugs (e.g. Lygus on the inflorescence), stem-boring larvae of weevils, grasshoppers and aphids (Agong, 2006). Tawfik et al. (1976) observed the stem-borer Hypolixus nubilosus attacking A. caudatus in Egypt, while H. truncatulus has been reported as a major pest of A. caudatus in the Jammu region in India (Tara et al., 2009). Pythium aphanidermatum was recorded as the causal agent of stem canker in A. caudatus for the first time in Argentina (Noelting and Sandoval, 2007). Lewia infectoria (teleomorph of Alternaria infectoria) affecting panicles and seeds of A. caudatus subsp. mantegazzianus was also reported in Argentina for the first time (Noelting et al., 2012).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop production Yes Yes Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2016)
Ornamental purposesGrown for ornamental use and naturalized in Puerto Rico Yes Yes Liogier (1985)

Impact: Economic

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Amaranthus caudatus is cultivated primarily as an ornamental and to a lesser degree, as a pseudocereal (USDA-ARS, 2016).

Impact: Social

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In Ethiopia, the root of A. caudatus is used as a laxative and the seed for expelling tapeworms and for treating eye diseases, amoebic dysentery and breast complaints. In India, the plant is taken as a diuretic and applied to sores (Agong, 2006).

Risk and Impact Factors

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Invasiveness
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist

Uses

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Amaranthus caudatus seeds are toasted and popped, ground into flour or boiled for gruel. For making leavened foods, they must be blended with wheat (Triticum aestivum). The seeds are fermented to make alcoholic beverages, e.g. beer (‘tella’) in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, cooked seeds are made into porridge and ground seeds are mixed with tef (Eragrostis tef) to prepare pancake-like bread (‘injera’). Seeds can be sprouted for use as a nutritious vegetable. The leaves are eaten as a vegetable like those of other amaranth species, e.g. in Peru and Ethiopia. Harvest residues are used for feeding livestock and for thatching. In South America, grain amaranths are traditionally used in medicine, folk festivals and as dye sources (Agong, 2006).

Economic Value

No statistics are available on production and trade of grain amaranths in general and A. caudatus in particular. Reports from the 1990s mention several thousand hectares of grain amaranths in China, similar large production areas in Argentina and about 2000 ha in the United States. Estimates for India and Nepal are up to 4000 ha. In Peru, there are over 1000 ha of grain amaranths (mainly A. caudatus) in the high Andean region alone. The United States imports large quantities of grain amaranth from Mexico (Agong, 2006).

Social Benefit

The roots, leaves and seeds of A. caudatus are used as natural remedies (Hong Kong Baptist University, 2007; Martinez-Lopez et al., 2020).  Several studies have highlighted the importance of A. caudatus as a potential source of biologically active compounds with anti-pyretic, anti-diabetic, anti-hyperlipidaemic, and anti-hypercholesterolaemic effects and antioxidant and antimicrobial activities (Girija et al., 2011; Kumar et al., 2011; Kumar et al., 2013Preeth and Das, 2014).

Uses List

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General

  • Botanical garden/zoo

Human food and beverage

  • Cereal
  • Leaves (for beverage)
  • Vegetable

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • garden plant
  • Potted plant

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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At least some cultivated forms and strains of A. caudatus probably developed with some degree of hybridization with other cultivated species. Numerous infraspecific entities that are mostly of horticultural importance have been described within A. caudatus. Forms with erect and robust club-shaped inflorescences have been recognized as A. mantegazzianus (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2016).

Prevention and Control

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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.

A combination of hand hoeing and herbicide use has been recommended as a means of controlling A. caudatum infestation of vegetable and field crops in Egypt (Gab-Alla et al., 1985; Ahmed et al., 2001).

The use of flea beetles (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae) and Hypolixus nubilosus to control A. caudatus has been investigated (Kolaib et al., 1986; Cagán et al., 2000).  

Csöndes et al. (2008) discussed the possibility of using the pathogenic fungus Macrophomina phaseolina which affects seed germination, to control weed species such as A. caudatus. Extracts prepared from pomegranate (Punica granatum) peel and henna (Lawsonia inermis) leaves were found to suppress A. caudatus seed germination (Balah and Nowra, 2016). 

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Strong, M. T., 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies, Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution.1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Agong SG, 2006. Amaranthus caudatus. In: PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa/Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale) [ed. by Brink M, Belay G]. Wageningen, The Netherlands: http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp

Ahmed, S. A., El-Suoud, M. R. A., Metwally, G. M., 2001. Effect of plant density and some weed control treatments on tomato and its associated weeds. Bulletin of the National Research Centre (Cairo), 26(4), 493-510.

Balah, M. A., Nowra, A. A., 2016. Efficacy of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) and henna (Lawsonia inermis L.) natural extracts to control some plant pathogens and weeds. Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control, 26(3), 487-496. http://www.ejbpc.com/

Cagán, L., Vráblová, M., Tóth, P., 2000. Flea beetles (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae) species occurring on Amaranthus spp. in Slovakia. Journal of Central European Agriculture, 1(1), 14-25. http://www.agr.hr/jcea/issues/jcea1-1/frame.html

Coons, M. P., 1982. Relationships of Amaranthus caudatus. Economic Botany, 36(2), 129-146. doi: 10.1007/BF02858709

Csöndes, I., Kadlicskó, S., Gáborjányi, R., 2008. Susceptibility of different plant species to Macrophomina phaseolina. Herbologia, 9(1), 41-48.

Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2016. Flora of North America North of Mexico. In: Flora of North America North of Mexico St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria.http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1

Gab-Alla, F. I., Mohamed, M. K., El-Deepah, H. R. A., 1985. Effect of hoeing and thinning date on maize (Zea mays, L.) and associated weeds. Annals of Agricultural Science, Moshtohor, 23(1), 15-28.

Girija, K., Lakshman, K., Udaya Chandrika, Ghosh, S. S., Divya, T., 2011. Anti-diabetic and anti-cholesterolemic activity of methanol extracts of three species of Amaranthus. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 1(2), 133-138. http://www.apjtb.com

Hong Kong Baptist University, 2007. Amaranthus caudatus. In: Medicinal Plant Images Database, Hong Kong, https://libproject.hkbu.edu.hk/was40/advancesearch?lang=en&channelid=1288

Kolaib, M. O., Younes, M. W. F., Darwish, E. T. E., 1986. Hypolixus nubilosus as a factor in biological control of Amaranthus weeds, in Egypt. Annals of Agricultural Science, Ain Shams University, 31(1), 767-775.

Kumar, B. S. A., Kuruba Lakshman, Jayaveera, K. N., 2011. Comparative antipyretic activity of methanolic extracts of some species of Amaranthus. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 1(Suppl.1), S47-S50. http://www.apjtb.com

Kumar, C. K. A., Sree, M. S. D., Joshna, A., Lakshmi, S. M., Kumar, D. S., 2013. A review on South Indian edible leafy vegetables. Journal of Global Trends in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 4(4), 1248-1256. http://www.jgtps.com/admin/uploads/bNI9CG.pdf

Liogier HA, 1985. Descriptive flora of Puerto Rico and adjacent islands. Spermatophyta. Volume I: Casuarinaceae to Connaraceae, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico: University of Puerto Rico.481 pp.

Martinez-Lopez, A., Millan-Linares, M. C., Rodriguez-Martin, N. M., Millan, F., Montserrat-de la Paz, S., 2020. Nutraceutical value of kiwicha (Amaranthus caudatus L.). Journal of Functional Foods, 65, 103735. doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2019.103735

Mathai, P. J., 1978. Amaranthus, a neglected vegetable. Indian Farming, 28(1), 29, 32.

Noelting, M. C. I., Sandoval, M. C., 2007. First report of stem canker affecting Amaranthus caudatus in Argentina. Australasian Plant Disease Notes, 2(1), 5. http://www.publish.csiro.au/view/journals/dsp_journal_fulltext.cfm?nid=208&f=DN07003

Noelting, M. C., Molina, M. C., Mónaco, C. I., Sandoval, M. C., Perelló, A., 2012. First report of Alternaria infectoria on amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus ssp. mantegazzianus) in Argentina. New Disease Reports, 25, 11. doi: 10.5197/j.2044-0588.2012.025.011

PFAF, 2019. Plants For A Future Database. In: Plants For A Future Database Dawlish, UK: Plants For A Future.http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Default.aspx

Preeth, G. P. V., Das, M. P., 2014. Physicochemical and phytochemical evaluation of Amaranthus caudatus. Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, 5(4), 313-318. http://rjpbcs.com/pdf/2014_5(4)/[32].pdf

Royal Horticultural Society, 2021. Amaranthus caudatus. London, UK: Royal Horticultural Society.https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/Search-Results?form-mode=true&context=l%3Den%26q%3D%2523all%26sl%3DplantForm&query=Amaranthus%20caudatus

Tara, J. S., Mohammad Azam, Shaloo Ayri, Feroz, M., Ramamurthy, V. V., 2009. Bionomics of Hypolixus truncatulus (F.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Lixinae: Lixini), a major pest of Amaranthus caudatus L. Munis Entomology & Zoology, 4(2), 510-518. http://www.munisentzool.org

Tawfik, M. F. S., Awadallah, K. T., Shalaby, F. F., 1976. The biology of Hypolixus nubilosus Boh., an insect infesting the weed Amaranthus caudatus L. in Egypt (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Bulletin of the Entomological Society of Egypt, (No. 60), 65-74.

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

World Flora Online, 2020. World Flora Online. In: World Flora Online : World Flora Online Consortium.http://www.worldfloraonline.org

Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Cagán L, Vráblová M, Tóth P, 2000. Flea beetles (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae) species occurring on Amaranthus spp. in Slovakia. Journal of Central European Agriculture. 1 (1), 14-25. http://www.agr.hr/jcea/issues/jcea1-1/frame.html

Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2016. Flora of North America North of Mexico. In: Flora of North America North of Mexico. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1

Foster R C, 1958. A catalogue of the ferns and flowering plants of Bolivia. 223 pp.

Gaikwad D K, Chavan P D, 1998. Salinity induced changes in stomatal behaviour and water relations in three Amaranthus species. Annals of Plant Physiology. 12 (2), 119-125.

Ibrahim I K A, Mokbel A A, Handoo Z A, 2010. Current status of phytoparasitic nematodes and their host plants in Egypt. Nematropica. 40 (2), 239-262. http://www.ontaweb.org/

Jee SamNyu, Choi JangGyu, Hong SuYoung, Lee YoungGyu, Kwon Min, 2018. First report of soft rot by Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense on amaranth in Korea. Research in Plant Disease. 24 (4), 339-341. http://www.online-rpd.org/journal/view.html?uid=1635&sort=&scale=&key=year&keyword=&s_v=24&s_n=4&pn=vol&year=2018&vmd=Full

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, 2016. Millennium Seed Bank - Seed List. In: Millennium Seed Bank - Seed List. Richmond, London, UK: Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. http://apps.kew.org/seedlist/SeedlistServlet

Kolaib M O, Younes M W F, Darwish E T E, 1986. Hypolixus nubilosus as a factor in biological control of Amaranthus weeds, in Egypt. Annals of Agricultural Science, Ain Shams University. 31 (1), 767-775.

Kumar C K A, Sree M S D, Joshna A, Lakshmi S M, Kumar D S, 2013. A review on South Indian edible leafy vegetables. Journal of Global Trends in Pharmaceutical Sciences. 4 (4), 1248-1256. http://www.jgtps.com/admin/uploads/bNI9CG.pdf

Manole T, Chireceanu C, Teodoru A, 2017. Current status of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, 1868 (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in Romania. Acta Zoologica Bulgarica. 143-148. http://www.acta-zoologica-bulgarica.eu/downloads/acta-zoologica-bulgarica/2017/supplement-9-143-148.pdf

Mathai P J, Ramachander P R, Chandravadana M V, 1981. Relation between yield and some nutritive constituents in Amaranthus. South Indian Horticulture. 29 (2), 124-125.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015. Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder. In: Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder. St. Louis, MO, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/plantfinder/plantfindersearch.aspx

Noelting M C I, Sandoval M C, 2007. First report of stem canker affecting Amaranthus caudatus in Argentina. Australasian Plant Disease Notes. 2 (1), 5. http://www.publish.csiro.au/view/journals/dsp_journal_fulltext.cfm?nid=208&f=DN07003

Seebens H, Blackburn T M, Dyer E E, Genovesi P, Hulme P E, Jeschke J M, Pagad S, Pyšek P, Winter M, Arianoutsou M, Bacher S, Blasius B, Brundu G, Capinha C, Celesti-Grapow L, Dawson W, Dullinger S, Fuentes N, Jäger H, Kartesz J, Kenis M, Kreft H, Kühn I, Lenzner B, Liebhold A, Mosena A (et al), 2017. No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide. Nature Communications. 8 (2), 14435. http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14435

Shankar A, Mathew J, Neeraj, Kaur R, Mehrotra R S, Verma A, 1990. Mycorrhizal status of some desert plants and their physiological significance. In: Trends in mycorrhizal research. Proceedings of the National Conference on Mycorrhiza, held at Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India, Feb. 14-16, 1990. [Trends in mycorrhizal research. Proceedings of the National Conference on Mycorrhiza, held at Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India, Feb. 14-16, 1990.], [ed. by Jalali BL, Chand H]. Hisar 125 004, India: Haryana Agricultural University. 160-161.

Stešević D, Petrović D, Bubanja N, Vuksanović S, Biberdžić V, 2008. Contribution to the flora of Montenegro (Supplementum to the Material for Vascular Flora of Montenegro). Natura Montenegrina. 463-480.

Tara J S, Mohammad Azam, Shaloo Ayri, Feroz M, Ramamurthy V V, 2009. Bionomics of Hypolixus truncatulus (F.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Lixinae: Lixini), a major pest of Amaranthus caudatus L. Munis Entomology & Zoology. 4 (2), 510-518. http://www.munisentzool.org

Ujjinaiah U S, Shivashankar G, Seenappa K, 1991. Intercropping grain amaranth with ragi. Current Research - University of Agricultural Sciences (Bangalore). 20 (2), 21-22.

Vaidya K R, Jain S K, 2002. Genetic variation in amaranth landraces from India. Journal of Genetics & Breeding. 56 (3), 193-203.

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Contributors

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18/05/2015 Original text by:

Eduardo Ventosa-Febles, Consultant, Puerto Rico

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