Soft green tassels of flowers, with green stems washed with yellow.
This species is cultivated for its edible seed and leaves in the Andes and various other parts of S. America.
An easy plant to grow, but it requires a long growing season if you want seed and will only germinate above 10C, preferably above 20C, so you will need to start them off indoors early in the season.
Hardy to zone 5. Amaranth accumulates nitrates in its cells when grown non-organically, so it is advisable to grow your own without chemical fertilisers.
Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position. Grows moderately well in poor soils. Requires a hot sheltered position if it is to do well. Plants are drought resistant though reasonable moisture levels are required for germination and also at pollination. Some forms can tolerate a pH up to 8.5, there are also some that can tolerate mild salinity. It is likely that they will also tolerate acid soils and aluminium toxicity.
Leaves - raw or cooked as a spinach or added to soups etc. The mild flavoured leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Seed - cooked. Very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious, individual plants can bear up to 100, 000 seeds. It is eaten cooked or ground into a powder and used in baking. The seed can also be popped in much the same way as popcorn. The seed can be cooked whole, and becomes very gelatinous like this, but it is rather difficult to crush all of the small seeds in the mouth and thus some of the seed will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated[K]. The seed is very nutritious and contains 13 - 18% of a very high quality protein that is rich in the amino acid lysine. It also contains good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin E and the vitamin B complex.http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Amaranthus_caudatus