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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
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AMARANTHACEAE

AMARANTH FAMILY

James Henrickson

Annual to tree
Stem prostrate to erect
Leaves alternate or opposite, simple, generally entire, bract-like upward; stipules 0
Inflorescence: cymes, often arrayed ± in spikes or panicles; bracts 1–3 per flower, generally membranous-scarious, tip often short-pointed or spine-like
Flower generally small, uni- or bisexual, radial; sepals 0–5, fused at base or free, often ± scarious; petals 0; stamens 0–5, opposite sepals (staminodes sometimes alternating), filaments sometimes fused at base; ovary superior, 1-chambered, ovules 1–several, erect or pendent on ± basal stalks, styles 0–3, stigma head-like or 2–3-lobed
Fruit: utricle to circumscissile capsule
Seed lenticular to spheric, hard
Genera in family: ± 65 genera, ± 900 species: tropical, subtropical
Reference: [Robertson 1981 J Arnold Arbor 62:267–313]

AMARANTHUS

PIGWEED, AMARANTH

Annual, monoecious or dioecious
Leaves alternate; blade linear to ovate
Inflorescence: cymes in dense, spike-like clusters; bract 1, tip generally short-pointed or -spined, generally scarious; bractlets 0–2
Staminate flower: sepals 3–5, ± equal, ± as bracts; stamens (1)3–5, filaments free; staminodia 0
Pistillate flower: sepals (3–)5, ± equal, scarious except midvein, fused at base, falling with fruit; ovary compressed-ovoid, styles (2)3, stigmas slender, papillate, ovule 1, erect
Fruit circumscissile or indehiscent, smooth or inflated-wrinkled; walls membranous to spongy-hardened
Seed 1, lenticular, smooth, reddish to black
Species in genus: ± 60 species: worldwide; some potherbs, some cultivated for seed
Etymology: (Greek: unfading, from persistent bracts and sepals)
Some species (especially A. cruentus, A. powellii, A. retroflexus) hybridize complexly
Reference: [Tucker & Sauer Madroño 1958 14:252–261]

Introduced

A. caudatus L.

QUILETE

Plant erect, 3–20+ dm, often reddish, monoecious
Leaf: petiole 25–180 mm; blade 60–200 mm, lanceolate to ovate
Inflorescence: panicle of coarse, spike-like clusters, terminal, < 50 cm, ± 15 cm wide; terminal cluster often drooping; spikes at base many, 5–20 cm, ascending; bracts ± = sepals, scarious below middle
Staminate flower: sepals 5, 2.3–2.7 mm; stamens 5
Pistillate flower: sepals 5, 1.8–2.2 mm, oblong-obovate to spoon-shaped, margins generally overlapping, acute to obtuse
Fruit ± 1.5 mm, circumscissile; lid inflated at base or not
Seed 1.1–1.2 mm wide, dark reddish, black, or whitish
Ecology: Disturbed places, fields
Elevation: < 200 m.
Bioregional distribution: Great Central Valley, San Francisco Bay Area (expected elsewhere)
Distribution outside California: to e US, Asia, Africa; native to w S.America
Cult for food.

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bioregional map for AMARANTHUS%20caudatus being generated
 
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Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Amaranthus caudatus
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