Botanical name: Chenopodium quinoa Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)
Synonyms: Chenopodium album subsp. quinoa, Chenopodium punctulatum
Quinoa is an annual herb that can reach up to 3 m in height. Its thick cylindrical stem can be straight or branching and bears alternate leaves that range from lanceshaped to roughly triangular. Both the stalk and the leaves fade in colour from green to yellow, red, or purple as they age. Its flowers are small, lacking petals, and grow clustered in racemes. The flowers are mostly bisexual or female and are generally self-pollinated, though some cross-pollination does occur. The tiny seeds, produced in achenes, are about 2 mm in diameter and can be white, red, yellow, purple, brown, or black. Quinoa has an extensive branching taproot that can be up to 1.5 m deep and promotes drought resistance. Quinoa is grown as a crop primarily for its edible seeds; the seeds are rich in protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and dietary minerals in amounts greater than in many grains. Quinoa is native to South America.
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