Redroot Pigweed
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Redroot Pigweed
A Naturalized Photo: Tabish
Common name: Redroot Pigweed, red-root amaranth, red-rooted pigweed, common amaranth, pigweed amaranth, common tumbleweed
Botanical name: Amaranthus retroflexus    Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)
Synonyms: Amaranthus spicatus, Amaranthus dubius

Redroot Pigweed is an erect, annual herb reaching a maximum height near 3 m, although it can be often found 2 ft tall. It is generally called pigweed because it grows where pigs are pasture-fed. The leaves can grows as much as 15 cm long on large plants, the ones higher on the stem having a lance shape and those lower on the plant diamond or oval in shape. The plant is monoecious, with individuals bearing both male and female flowers. The inflorescence is a large, dense cluster of flowers interspersed with spiny green bracts. The fruit is a capsule less than 2 mm long with a "lid" which opens to reveal a tiny black seed. This plant is eaten as a vegetable in different places of the world. It is used in Kerala to prepare a popular dish known as thoran by combining the finely cut leaves with grated coconut, chili peppers, garlic, turmeric and other ingredients. Redroot Pigweed is native to Mexico, but now naturalized widely all over the world. It can be found in the Himalayas, at altitudes of 1820 m or more.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Kashmir.

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