White Amaranth
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White Amaranth
A Naturalized Photo: Shashidharswamy Hiremath
Common name: White Amaranth, Common tumbleweed, Tumble pigweed, Tumbleweed, Prostrate pigweed, Pigweed amaranth • Kannada: ತಿರುಕಸಾಲಿ ಸೊಪ್ಪು Tirukasali soppu, ತಿರ್ಕಸಾಲಿ ಸೊಪ್ಪು Tirksali Soppu
Botanical name: Amaranthus albus    Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)
Synonyms: Amaranthus albus var. rubicundus, Amaranthus littoralis

White Amaranth is annual about 15-75 cm tall and 15-90 cm across. Large specimens branch frequently and have a bushy appearance; they are broader toward the bottom than the top. Small specimens are more sparsely branched and have a scraggly appearance. The stems are whitish green to white and round or slightly furrowed. The alternate leaves are up to 2.5 cm long and 6 mm across, rarely are they larger than this. Both the stems and the leaves are hairless, or nearly so. The side branches often develop at right angles from the central stem. Each leaf is light green, inverted-lanceshaped, and smooth or slightly wavy along the margins.margin slightly undulate, tip blunt or notched, with a mucro. Sometimes the leaves have yellowish or reddish tints. From the axil of each leaf, there develops a small cluster of inprominent flowers. Each flower is surrounded by 3 lanceshaped bracts about 3 mm in length; each bract has an elongated tip that is stiff. Because White Amaranth is monoecious, there are pistillate (female) and staminate (male) flowers. Regardless of its gender, each flower has 3 green sepals that are lanceshaped and no petals. Each female flower has an ovary with 3 styles, while each male flower has 3 stamens. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall and lasts about 2 months. The flowers are wind-pollinated. Each pistillate flower develops a single seed that is surrounded by a wrinkled membrane (utricle). This membrane splits open around the middle to release the seed. White Amaranth is native to North America, widely naturalized elsewhere.

Identification credit: Shashidharswamy Hiremath Photographed in Kadaramandalagi, Byadgi-Taluk, Haveri-Dist, Karnataka.

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