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Common tumbleweed Amaranthus retroflexus

Phonetic Spelling
am-a-RAN-thus ret-roh-FLEKS-us
Description

Pigweed is a multi-stemmed summer annual in the Amaranth family.  Considered a weed, it can be found growing in wastelands, prairies, fallow fields, farm lots, gravelly areas, and cultivated fields. Its invasiveness causes yield loss in many vegetable row crops.   

It grows unbranched or with minimal branches.  

The seeds are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked.  They are sometimes ground into a powder and eaten as a substitute for cereal.  Sprouts can be added to salads.  Although portions of this plant are edible, ingestion is detrimental to pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, and horses.  

This variety of pigweed is different in appearance than other common weeds in the same family.  However, it can be identified by its shorter and stouter growth habit.  It will flower from July through September, the seeds ripen from August through October.  

It is typically pollinated by the wind.  

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  Plant damaging insects are not attracted to this plant.  

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#invasive#drought tolerant#weed#weedy#summer annual weed#edible seeds#edible leaves#edible#warm season weed
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#invasive#drought tolerant#weed#weedy#summer annual weed#edible seeds#edible leaves#edible#warm season weed
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Amaranthus
    Species:
    retroflexus
    Family:
    Amaranthaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico, South America
    Distribution:
    Lower 48
    Wildlife Value:
    A food source for birds, butterflies, moths, insects and small mammals.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    The seeds are eaten raw or cooked.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herb
    Weed
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Spike
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Clusters of short, thick, prickly spikes.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are smaller in the upper portion of the central stem. Each leaf base is rounded, the tip is rounded and blunt. The upper portion of the leaves are hairless, the undersides have hairs present and may be reddish or purple in color.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The central stem is stout, rounded, veined and covered with white hairs. The stems are reddish near the base of the plant.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Meadow
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Problems:
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy