Amaranthus An Ornamental Flower

John Milton was just one of the people who made the name of Amaranthus pretty famous when he talked about it in Lycidas. Many people state that the distinctive red color of this flower is unbeaten as far as other flowers in nature are concerned. The name of this flower itself is derived from the Greek word for ‘never withering’ or amarantos. This species of flower belongs to the family amaranthaceae.

Amaranthus cruentus 'Foxtail' flower closeup

Image Credit: Amaranthus

Among many other names, Amaranthus is also known as:

  • Summer poinsettia
  • Flaming fountain
  • Love lies bleeding
  • Joseph’s coat
  • Velvet flower and
  • Lady bleeding

Depending on the species of amaranth, it can also be known as

  • White pig weed
  • Greenstripe
  • Brown’s Amaranthus and so on

About amaranthus

Around sixty species of this flower can be found all over the world and they vary as far as color of the foliage and flowers are concerned. The uses of amaranth also vary in different parts of the world. While some people use it as a wonderful ornamental flower, others use it as an essential part of their cuisine. Interestingly, the Greeks also named it unfazed or unwithering because it was considered to be an emblem of immortality. It is true that the Amaranthus seems to retain its freshness and color for an inordinately long period of time. This is one of the reasons why many a time this flower is also used on graves.

How to grow amaranthus

Growing Amaranthus is pretty easy because it is a very sturdy plant but needs just a few little specific things. Try and plant it in an area which does not receive too much of direct sunlight. All you need to do is to plant the seed and cover it with a thin layer of soil and give it adequate protection from cold and too much sunlight. Some species of Amaranthus however need a lot of sunlight. Summer poinsettia needs to be planted in direct sunlight and requires really hot weather to grow.

Taking care of the flower

This plant also needs you to take care of it in terms of feeding it water regularly. If you have reasonably hot weather then do ensure that the soil around the plant remains moist. Fertilizers can also be used to take care of this flowering plant. Ideally, use organic fertilizers in case the soil needs this extra help!

Uses of the flower and plant

Interestingly the Amaranthus was used in ancient times by the Aztecs for their religious ceremonies. Today, some of the uses of the flower and plant include:

  • Becoming part of many a dish around the world such as in green leafy vegetables and even the grains being used in many baked products
  • Ornamental and decorative uses
  • The seeds of the plant can also be milled into flour which is said to be pretty healthy and has a strong taste.
  • The flowers can also be converted into a deep reddish dye.
  • In some parts of the world, Amaranthus is also used as a herbal healing product. Do watch out though because some of the species are said to be poisonous.

James is a writer and blogger with 5 years experience.

Erin Emanuel