Common name: Hot Biscuits Amaranth, Mexican grain amaranth, Bush greens, Caterpillar amaranth, Prince's feather, Purple amaranth, Red amaranth, Red shank
Botanical name: Amaranthus cruentus 'Hot Biscuits' Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)
Synonyms: Amaranthus paniculatus
Hot Biscuits Amaranth is a tall annual herb topped with clusters of ginger
or cinnamon colored flowers. The plant can grow up to 2 m (6 ft) in height,
and blooms in summer to fall. It is believed to have originated from
Amaranthus hybridus, with which it shares many morphological features. This
species was in use as a food source in Central America as early as 4000 BC.
The plant is usually green in color, but a purple variant was once grown
for use in Inca rituals. The plant is grown as a garden flower, and is good as a cut-flower.
The seeds are eaten as a cereal grain. They are
black in the wild plant, and white in the domesticated form. They are
ground into flour, popped like popcorn, cooked into a porridge, and made
into a confectionery called alegría. The leaves can be cooked like spinach,
and the seeds can be germinated into nutritious sprouts. While A. cruentus
is no longer a staple food, it is still grown and sold as a health food.
Identification credit: Supriya Saha
|Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.|