Scientific Description:

Annual or perennial herbs, subshrubs to shrubs, rarely woody climbers or trees, often succulent and/or halophytic: stems sometimes succulent, often swollen nodes. Leaves usually simple, usually alternate (spiral) or opposite, reduced in some succulents or rarely absent (e.g. Salicornia L.); margins usually entire or rarely lobed, toothed or pinnatifid; stipules absent. Inflorescence a spike, head, thyrse, cyme or rarely solitary flower; often bracteate. Flowers usually bisexual or unisexual (monoecious, andromonoecious, gynomonoecious, dioecious, androdioecious, rarely polygamomonoecious), actinomorphic, disk often present sometimes with appendages; bracteoles often dry papery, showy. Perianth 1-whorled, free or basally fused, sepaloid to petaloid, usually imbricate, dry to fleshy, often persistent. Stamen filaments free or fused; anthers introrse; staminodes 05. Ovary superior or part-inferior (Beta L.); carpels fused; locule 1: ovules 1 (to several); placentation usually basal. Fruit usually a nut, or a berry, capsule or achene.


Byng JW (2014). Amaranthaceae, In: The Flowering Plants Handbook: A practical guide to families and genera of the world. Plant Gateway Ltd., Hertford, UK., pp. 354.

Public Description:

The “Amarant family” contains annual or perennial herbs, subshrubs to shrubs, rarely woody climbers or trees, often succulent and/or halophytic.It has a widespread and cosmopolitan spread over the world, from the tropics to the temperate zones.Most of the species are halophytes, salt-tolerant, or grown on dry steppes or semi-deserts.In this family there are some important food plants; some species, such as “spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.)” or“sugar beet, beetroot, chard,fodder beet (Beta vulgaris L. cultivars)”, are used as vegetables. Some seeds, such as quinoa (Chenopodium quinoaWilld.) and kaniwa (Chenopodium pallidicauleAellen), which are very popular in recent years and blended into grains, gluten-free and have high protein and fiber content.Some species “e.g.: epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides (L.) Mosyakin & Clemants)"are used as medicinal herbswhile some species"e.g.: amaranth (Amaranthus L.) , joyweeds (Alternanthera Forssk.)"are also used as ornamental plants. Many species are known to cause pollen allergies.



Anonymous (2015)., Accessed date: 19.12.2015.

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