Amaranthus L.

Amaranthus tortuosus Hornem.

This species is accepted, and its native range is Mexico to Tropical America. It is used as animal food and a medicine, has environmental uses and for food.

Biogeografic region: Amazonia, Andean, Guiana Shield, Caribbean, Orinoquia, Pacific. Elevation range: 0–2000 m a.s.l. Native to Colombia. Colombian departments: Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlántico, Bolívar, Boyacá, Caldas, Casanare, Cauca, Cesar, Chocó, Córdoba, Cundinamarca, Huila, La Guajira, Magdalena, Meta, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Quindío, Risaralda, San Andrés y Providencia, Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca.
Habitat according IUCN Habitats Classification: forest and woodland, savanna, shrubland, native grassland, wetlands (inland), artificial - terrestrial.


Bernal, R., G. Galeano, A. Rodríguez, H. Sarmiento y M. Gutiérrez. 2017. Nombres Comunes de las Plantas de Colombia.

amaranto, amaranto blanco, bledo, bledo blanco, bledo chico, bledo colorado, bledo colorao, bledo de puerco, bledo hembra, bledo liso, bledo maleza, bledo rojizo, bleo, bleo de puerco, gleo, lirgua, yuyo hembra


Amaranthaceae, C. C. Townsend. Flora Zambesiaca 9:1. 1988

Morphology General Habit
Erect annual herb, mostly up to c. 90 cm. (rarely to 1.5 m.) tall.
Morphology Stem
Stem rather slender to stout, usually branched, angular, glabrous or increasingly furnished upwards (especially in the inflorescence) with short to rather long, multicellular hairs.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves glabrous, or thinly and shortly pilose on the inferior surface of the primary venation, long-petiolate (petioles up to c. 8.5 cm. long, sometimes longer than the lamina), lamina ovate or rhomboid-ovate, 1.5–8 (12) × 0.7–5 (8) cm., blunt or retuse at the apex with a distinct, fine mucro formed by the percurrent nerve, cuneate (usually shortly so) at the base; leaf axils without spines.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers green, in the lower part of the plant in axillary clusters 4–10 cm. in diam., towards the ends of the stem and branches the leafless clusters approximated to form simple or (the terminal at least) branched spikes c. 3–15 (25) cm. long and 6–8 (10) mm. wide. Lower clusters of flowers entirely female, the spikes generally showing a few male flowers at the apices only (rarely in more than the apical 1 cm.), occasionally with male flowers also scattered among the lower female flowers.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Bracts and bracteoles deltoid-ovate, pale-membranous with an erect reddish awn formed by the excurrent green midrib, bracteoles somewhat shorter than or subequalling the perianth, rarely slightly exceeding it.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Perianth
Perianth segments (4) 5, those of the female flowers c. 1.5–2.75 mm. long, narrowly oblong or spathulate oblong, obtuse or sometimes (particularly those approaching the male flowers) acute, mucronulate, frequently with a greenish dorsal vitta above; those of the male flowers broadly lanceolate or lanceolate-oblong, generally acuminate, only the thin midrib green.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Stigma
Stigmas 3, flexuose or reflexed, c. 0.75–1 mm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule subequalling the perianth, ovoid-urceolate, with a short inflated beak below the style base, c. 1.5–1.75 mm., circumcissile, the lid strongly rugulose below the neck.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seed 1–1.25 mm., compressed, black, shining, faintly reticulate.


M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008]

Morphology General Habit
Erect annual, mostly up to 90(–150) cm, similar in habit to A. spinosus and with similar leaf-size and shape, but often less coarse
Morphology General Spines
Paired axillary spines absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Lower flower clusters axillary, female, 4–10 mm in diam.; upper clusters leafless, forming simple or (the terminal at least) branched spikes 3–15(–25) cm long and 6–8(–10) cm wide, the spikes male for up to c. the apical 1 cm
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Tepal
Tepals of female flowers (4–)5, 1.5–2.75 mm, oblong or spathulate-oblong, obtuse or sometimes (especially towards the male flowers) acute, mucronulate, usually with a greenish dorsal vitta above
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Stigma
Stigmas 3
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule ovoid-urceolate, c. 1.5–1.75 mm, with a short inflated beak below the style-base, circumscissile, the lid strongly rugulose
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds faintly reticulate, lenticular.
S1, 2 of tropical American origin, now widespread in the tropics of both Old and New Worlds.
A. dubius is the only known polyploid Amaranthus, but its origin remains uncertain. Hybrids are said to be frequent where it occurs in association with A. spinosus; the two species are very similar apart from the axillary spines of the latter. Srivasta, Pal & Nair in Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol. 23: 287–291 (1977) claim that the pollen of A. dubius has larger pores than that of A. spinosus, and that the hybrids are distinguishable by the presence of micrograins among the pollen.

Found in Boyacá, Colombia.
Amaranto, Atakco, Bledo, Bledo blanco, Bledo de espina, Bledo rojizo, Bleo, Bleo de puerco, Calalú, Pira, Yuyo


The Useful Plants of Boyacá project

Alt. 0 - 2000 m.
Morphology General Habit
Native from Colombia.


Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá.

Nativa en Colombia; Alt. 0 - 2000 m.; Amazonia, Andes, Guayana y Serranía de La Macarena, Islas Caribeñas, Llanura del Caribe, Orinoquia, Pacífico, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Valle del Cauca, Valle del Magdalena.
Morphology General Habit
No Evaluada

Use Animal Food
Used as animal food.
Use Environmental
Environmental uses.
Use Gene Sources
Used as gene sources.
Use Food
Used for food.
Use Materials
Used as material.
Use Medicines
Medical uses.

Use Animal Food
Used to feed pigs when food is scarce (Correa & Bernal 1989).
Use Environmental Pollution Control
Used for phytoremediation of chromium, mercury, arsenic, lead, copper and nickel; bioaccumulator (Mellen 2008).
Use Food
Sold in the markets of Rio de Janeiro (Correa & Bernal 1989).
Use Food Vegetables
Leaves - Used in salads (Correa & Bernal 1989).
Use Medicines Genitourinary System Disorders
Used as a diuretic (Correa & Bernal 1989).
Use Medicines Infections & Infestations
Used in the treatment of fever (Correa & Bernal 1989).
Use Medicines Inflammation
Used in poultices in the treatment of inflamed open wounds (Correa & Bernal 1989).
Use Medicines Skin or Subcutaneous Cellular Tissue Disorders
External use in the treatment of allergic skin problems (Correa & Bernal 1989).
Use Medicines Unspecified Medicinal Disorders
Medicinal (State of the World's Plants 2016, Instituto Humboldt 2014).

Native to:

Aruba, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Cayman Is., Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Galápagos, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Leeward Is., Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Peru, Puerto Rico, Southwest Caribbean, Suriname, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Windward Is.

Introduced into:

Aldabra, Argentina Northeast, Bangladesh, Benin, Bulgaria, Burkina, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Caroline Is., Central African Repu, China Southeast, Christmas I., Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Florida, Gilbert Is., Gulf of Guinea Is., Hawaii, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jawa, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesser Sunda Is., Line Is., Malawi, Marianas, Marshall Is., Mauritius, Mozambique, Nauru, New Guinea, Nigeria, Oman, Phoenix Is., Rwanda, Réunion, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Society Is., Socotra, Somalia, Sri Lanka, St.Helena, Sudan, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tuamotu, Uganda, Wake I., Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

Marog, wild spinach
Bledo, bledo blanco, calalú, curucu, yuyo, amaranto, pira.

Amaranthus tortuosus Hornem. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
May 1, 2006 Darbyshire, I. [331], Cameroon Amaranthus dubius K000339695 No
May 1, 2006 Darbyshire, I. [335], Cameroon Amaranthus dubius K000339698 No
Sep 18, 1971 Geilinger [3011], Tanzania Amaranthus dubius K000190113 isolectotype Yes
Sep 18, 1971 Purseglove, J.W. [1813], Uganda Amaranthus dubius K000190112 holotype Yes
Eiten, G. [10415], Brazil Amaranthus dubius K001207040 Yes
Eiten, G. [10304], Brazil Amaranthus dubius K001207041 Yes

First published in Hort. Bot. Hafn., Suppl.: 107 (1819)

Accepted by

  • Delipavlov, D. & Cheshmedzhiev, I. (eds.) (2011). Opredelitel na rasteniiata v Bulgariia: 1-590. Akad. Isd. Agrar. Univers. Plovdiv.
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Kew Backbone Distributions

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  • Kuo, M.L. (ed.) (2012). Flora of Taiwan, ed. 2, Suppl.: 1-414. Editorial Committee of the Flora of Taiwan, Second Edition, National Taiwan University.
  • Lambdon, P. (2012). Flowering plants & ferns of St Helena: 1-624. Pisces publications for St Helena nature conservation group.
  • Launert, E. (ed.) (1988). Flora Zambesiaca 9(1): 1-179. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Lebrun, J.p., Toutain, B., Gaston, A. & Boudet, G. (1991). Catalogue des Plantes Vasculaires du Burkina Faso: 1-341. Institut d' Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux, Maisons Alfort.
  • Miller, A.G. & Morris, M. (2004). Ethnoflora of Soqotra Archipelago: 1-759. The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
  • Mostaph, M.K. & Uddin, S.B. (2013). Dictionary of plant names of Bangladesh, Vasc. Pl.: 1-434. Janokalyan Prokashani, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
  • Mosti, S., Raffaelli, M. & Tardelli, M. (2012). Contributions to the flora of central-southern Dhofar (Sultanate of Oman) Webbia; Raccolta de Scritti Botanici 67: 65-91.
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  • Thaman, R.R. & Tye, A. (2015). Flora of Kiritimari (Christmass) atoll, Northern Line islands, Republic of Kiribati Atoll Research Bulletin 608: 1-73.
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  • Thulin, M. (ed.) (1993). Flora of Somalia 1: 1-493. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
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Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia

  • Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R., & Celis, M. (eds.). (2020). Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia. v1.1. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Dataset/Checklist.
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  • FPI (2021). Food Plants International.
  • (2021). GBIF species matching tool.
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  • Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt (2015). Listado de especies de Productos No Maderables del caribe colombiano. 366 registros, aportados por: Garcia, H. (Contacto del Recurso), López Camacho, R. (Creador del recurso), Espitia Palencia, L. (Proveedor del metadatos). Versión 2.0.
  • Medicinal Plant Names Services (MPNS) v.10 (2021);
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  • Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

  • Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

    ColPlantA 2021. Published on the Internet at

  • Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora Zambesiaca

  • Flora of Somalia

    Flora of Somalia

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Science Photographs

    Copyright applied to individual images

  • Universidad Nacional de Colombia

    ColPlantA database

  • Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia

  • Useful Plants of Boyacá Project

    ColPlantA database