Amaranthus deflexus L.


Amaranthaceae (Amaranth Family)


Old World


Low Pigweed  

                                           June Photo


Plant Characteristics: Annual herb, stems slender, much branched, ascending or decumbent, subglabrous or pubescent above; nodes without spines; lf. blades rhombic-ovate to lanceolate, obtuse, 5-20 mm. long, on slender petioles ca. as long; fls. polygamous, in dense short and thick spikes, which are usually subtended by a few capitate axillary clusters; bracts ovate, acute, cuspidate, usually much shorter than the calyx, ca. 2 mm. long; sepals 2-3, oblong, ca. as long as bracts; utricle oblong, indehiscent, much exceeding calyx, 3-5-nerved, with fleshy walls; seeds dark red-brown, oval, 1 mm. long.


Habitat:  Weed in gardens, along streets, etc. at widely scattered stations, cismontane s. Calif.  May-Nov.


Name:  Greek, amarantos, unfading, because of the dry persistent calyx and bracts.  (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 60).  Deflexus, bent abruptly downward.  (Bailey 13).


General:  Rare in the study area having been found only once and this on the bank above the fresh water stream at 23rd St.  (my comment).      Unlike the other species of Amaranthus described, the fruit does not split open at maturity.  (Robbins et al. 163).      Indians of Arizona so valued the seeds of amaranth that they cultivated the plant.  They parched and ate the seeds whole or ground them into flour.  They also used the leaves and stems of the young plants as a potherb.  They brought the seed heads home to dry-often under a shelter of willow made just for that purpose.  The spikes were beaten with sticks on a hard floor and then winnowed.  (Clarke 179).      About 50 species, widespread except in cold regions.  (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 60).       Uncommon waif.  Plants with wrinkled seeds have been called A. gracilis.  (Hickman, Ed. 132).


Text Ref:  Abrams, Vol. I 99; Hickman, Ed. 132; Munz, Flora So. Calif. 62; Roberts 6.

Photo Ref:  Jun-Aug 90 # 2,3.

Identity: by R. De Ruff, confirmed by John Johnson.


Computer Ref:  Plant Data 403.

Have plant specimen.

Last edit 10/20/02.


                                                June Photo