Amaranthus viridis

Primary tabs

Amaranthus viridis


Annual, monoecious herb to 1 m; stems bluntly triangular, pink to green, glabrous, or puberulent above. Petiole to 10 cm, not quite as long as blade; blade ovate-rhombic, ovate, ovate-oblong, lanceolate or bluntly triangular, (0.3-)1.5 x 6(-9) cm, apex obtuse to truncate, mucronulate, shallowly emarginate to 1 mm deep, base cuneate to subtruncate, glabrous, sometimes pilose beneath. Inflorescence of axillary clusters and terminal spikes or panicles 1-8(-20) cm long; bracts and bracteoles hyaline, ovate, 0.5-1.0 mm long, awned, much shorter than to subequalling perianth. Flowers white-membranous with green midvein. Male flowers few, near tips of terminal inflorescences; tepals 3, subequal, elliptical, oblong or ovate, 1.0-1.5 mm long, concave, acute; stamens 2-3. Female flowers more numerous than male, in axillary clusters and throughout terminal inflorescence; tepals 3, oblong, obovate or oblanceolate, 1.2-1.75 mm long, acute, equalling utricle; ovary oblong, styles 2-3. Utricle indehiscent, globose or suborbicular, 1.25-1.50 mm long, exceeding perianth, yellowish-brown, prominently rugulose throughout; seed orbicular, lenticular, 0.9-1.2 mm long, dark reddish-brown to black, shining.


Guianas present, Pantropical present
Pantropical; weed on disturbed land, occasionally cultivated as a leafy vegetable; 14 collections studied, all from the Guianas (GU: 7; SU: 3; FG: 4).

Common Name

Creole (French Guiana): epinard sauvage; English (Guyana): chowroi bhajee


Leaves are eaten as a vegetable in Guyana (cultivated, Omawale & Persaud 96) and French Guiana (Oldeman B-2875).


See note concerning specimens of A. viridis which may resemble A. blitum, under that species.
Cultivated plants having leaves variegated with blotches of green, red, purple and yellow, and keying in this treatment to the green-leaved A. viridis (tepals 3, stamens 3) but with tepals longer than the fruit, are likely referable to Amaranthus tricolor L., which is grown as an ornamental in Suriname (since at least the 1930's) and French Guiana, where introduced since the era of Aublet in the late 1700's (DeFilipps, 1992).
Amaranthus polygamus L., Cent. Pl. 1: 32. 1755 (synonymized under A. melancholicus L., Sp. Pl. 989. 1753 by Smith & Downs 1972, p. 27), is a plant of India and Africa, attributed to French Guiana by Lemée (1: 563. 1955) based on a Aublet citation. It has 3 tepals like A. viridis, but fruit transversely dehiscent and flowers all in axillary glomerules, whereas A. viridis has indehiscent fruit and some flowers in terminal spikes. No specimens of A. melancholicus were observed in this study.