redroot amaranth

(Amaranthus retroflexus)

Conservation Status
redroot amaranth
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNA - Not applicable


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Redroot amaranth is a 8 to 60 tall, erect, annual forb that rises from a shallow, fleshy, often reddish taproot.

The stems are erect, stout, light green, reddish near the base, and usually branched above the middle. They are densely to moderately covered with short, soft hairs. They do not have spines at the nodes.

The leaves are alternate, egg-shaped to diamond-shaped, ¾ to 6 long, and to 2¾ wide. They are on leaf stalks that are half as long to as long as the blade. The leaf blades are tapered or narrowed at the base. They usually taper to a point at the tip with straight sides along the tip. Sometimes there is a small notch at the tip with a short, sharp, abrupt point in the notch. The upper surface is hairless or slightly hairy. The lower surface is hairy along the veins. The margins are untoothed and flat or slightly wavy.

The inflorescence is a 2 to 8 long, dense, green, branched, elongated cluster (panicle) of numerous spikes at the end of the stem and branches, as well as smaller panicles or solitary spikes rising from the upper leaf axils.

Male and female flowers are produced on the same plant. Female flowers have 5 white, petal-like sepals, no petals, and 3 stigmas. Male flowers have 5 white, petal-like sepals, no petals, and 4 or 5 stamens. The sepals are rounded at the tip. Each flower is subtended by one or more bracts that are sharply pointed and longer than the sepals. The pointed bracts give the inflorescence as bristly appearance.

The fruit is an egg-shaped to elliptic, 1 16 to long, membranous bladder (utricle) with a single seed.




8 to 60


Flower Color


Green to yellow


Similar Species


Green amaranth (Amaranthus hybridus) is a mostly hairless plant. The sepals are sharply pointed at the tip.


Cultivated fields, pastures, yards, fencerows, roadside ditches, disturbed sites.




July to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Caryophyllanae  


Caryophyllales (pinks, cactuses, and allies)  


Amaranthaceae (amaranths)  
  Subfamily Amaranthoideae  


Amaranthus (amaranths)  



Subordinate Taxa






Amaranthus retroflexus var. salicifolius


Common Names


careless weed

common amaranth



red root amaranth

red-root amaranth

redroot amaranth

redroot pigweed

rough amaranth

rough pigweed

wild-beet amaranth













Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



A small, dry, inflated, thin-walled, bladder-like fruit containing one seed.

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    redroot amaranth   redroot amaranth  
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    redroot amaranth   redroot amaranth  
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  Amaranthus retroflexus
Matt Lavin
  Amaranthus retroflexus  

Native annual monoecious herb, with erect stems up to 1 m tall, fruit an circumcissle utricle (i.e., with a lid that pops off at maturity), in highly disturbed settings including crop fields, gardens, sides of roads and trails, in pastures, and around manure piles (the ecological setting for all Amaranthus species).

  Pigweed/Amaranth ID in Ohio
Ohio State University Weed Science

Published on Mar 5, 2013

How to Identify various pigweed / amaranth species in Ohio Including redroot and smooth pigweed, palmer and powell amaranth, and common and tall waterhemp




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Other Videos
  Amaranthus retroflexus

Uploaded on Oct 8, 2008

Amaranthus retroflexus
(Corvinus beszámoló)

  Environmental Laboratory - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Environmental Laboratory USACE

Published on Feb 15, 2013

Amaranthus retroflexus - Redroot Pigweed

  Weed of the Week #799 - Redroot Pigweed (Air Date 7/28/13)
AgPhD's channel

Published on Aug 5, 2013

It's our Weed of the Week, Redroot Pigweed.

  Amaranth And Lamb's Quarters - Edible Goosefoot Family Plant Identification

Published on Sep 21, 2012

Please like, share, comment and subscribe. Thanks for the views, comments and support. Amaranth Harvest and Prep:

More useful plants:

This video shows how to identify Amaranthus retroflexus and Chenopodium album, two edible and abundant members of the Goosefoot family, Chenopodiaceae.

Also shown are Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) and Curly dock (Rumex crispus). for comparison, both of which may potentially be mistaken for pigweed as impostors or look-a-likes, especially by a novice forager.

Amaranthus retroflexus is also known as Green amaranth, redroot pigweed and goes by many other common names.

Chenopodium album is also known as Goosefoot, Pigweed, Wild spinach or Lamb's quarters. It likely has other common names as well.

There are many varieties of pigweed. Depending on your geographic location, pigweed species may be different. The two above Goosefoot's are found throughout North America and are both extremely abundant.

The goosefoot family contains a variety of plants that serve as food, medicine and are used for utility purposes such as making soap and natural dyes. Some Goosefoot family plants are cultivated for both food and as ornamental plants in the flower garden and landscaping.

A few common and perhaps more familiar Goosefoot family plants grown in the garden are Spinach, chard and beets. Following garden varieties through the seasons may allow one to familiarize their self with Goosefoot familiy plant characteristics and patterns of growth.

Tags: goosefoot family Chenopodiaceae Chenopodium album lamb's quarters pigweed wild spinach natural dye soap making Amaranthus retroflexus seeds grain pseudo-cereal "redroot pigweed" green amaranth spinach chard beets impostor look-a-like Common ragweed Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. Curly dock Rumex crispus "garden harvest" MiWilderness Michigan garden hunt gather forage edible mushroom spore print plant identification how to DIY prepper acorn tannin prepared survival skills bushcraft food preservation cooking pressure canner basics pickle fish gun safety sharpen knife strop ax kit gear review field test outdoor sports camp hike bike canoe tarp tent primitive technology botany naturalist organic herbal remedy folk medicine living history permaculture wildcraft home canning guide homegrown homemade maple syrup evaporator buckskin moccasin wood carving




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