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Common Amaranth

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Flowering common amaranth in a sugar beet field.
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Common amaranth.
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Common amaranth at the stage of germination with seed leaves.
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Common amaranth at the seed leaf stage.

Scientific Name

Amaranthus retroflexus

Descriptions

Description

Annual, common seed weed, erect growth, 20-220 cm (7.87 - 86.6 inch) high depending on growing conditions.

Damage

This aggressive weed is native to tropical America, but is found throughout the United States in disturbed areas. It greatly reduces yield and quality and interferes with combine harvesting. Because of its rapid growth and deep root system (more than 1 m; 39.37 inch) it competes for water and nutrition, therefore it is very resistant to drought. Redroot pigweed accumulates nitrate and may cause bloat in cattle.

Characteristic Features

Compact, caespitous inflorescence.

Cotyledons

Cotyledons longoval, 10-12 mm (0.39 - 0.47 inch), at the underside often redviolet.

Stems

Erect, single or branched, light green to reddish, more or less short and rough hairy.

Leaves

Long petiolate leaves, ovate, pointed, gray-green.

Propagatio Organs

Flowers

Borne in short, dense, sometimes branched spikes up to 20 cm (7.87 inch) long, green, each flower unisexual but with both the male and female flowers on the same plant. Bracts about 6.5 cm (2.56 inch) long, longer than the sepals.

Flowering Period

May-September.

Fruit

Urticle, nearly globe-shaped, slightly rugose.

Seeds

Germination from late spring-summer. Seeds are lentiform, dark red-brown and shiny.

Viability Of Seeds

More than 40 years.

Propagation

1,000-5,000 seeds/plant.

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