Rough Pigweed

Rough_Pigweed_jpgThis family (Amaranthaceae), commonly called the Amaranth Family, consists of 71 genera and 800 species of mostly herbs; but, also shrubs and small trees.  This family is found mostly in tropical, subtropical and warm regions. The name of this family, Amaranthaceae, and genus, Amaranthus, is from the Greek “amarantos” which means unfolding and refers to the calyx and bracts that do not wither. The seeds of another member of this genus, Amaranthus caudatus, commonly named Inca’s Wheat has been an important food-crop in South America for centuries.   The highly colored garden Amaranthus are cultivars of Amaranthus caudatus and Amaranthus tricolor. Cockscomb, Celosia cristata, is another colorful family member. Rough Pigweed is edible as a cooked green, the tender young leaves can be boiled for 10-15 minutes or added to salad.  The tiny black seeds can be ground into flour. Rough Pigweed is fodder for livestock.

OtherCommonName:

Wild Beet, Redroot

ScientificName:

Amaranthus retroflexus

Community:

Edge

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Annual

PlantHeight:

6 feet

FruitingTime:

August to November

Distribution:

Statewide in New Jersey

FloweringTime:

Late July to October

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Course, hairy with stout stems ~ Stems beet color ~ Red roots ~ Flower dense, bristly, 6 to 24 inch cluster, green ~ Leaves dull green, oval to lance shaped