Thorny Pigweed - Spiny Amaranth
Thorny Amaranth
Amaranthus spinosus - Linnaeus
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth) Family

 

Plant is an upright, much branched perennial with reddish, spiny stems. Preferred habitat is waste places, disturbed grounds and cultivated soil. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are 2-6 inches long; egg-shaped to lance-like with a pair of rigid spines in each leaf axil; mealy green; prominent midvein beneath.

Flowers are in a spike at the end of the stem; male flowers mostly in slender spikes and female in dense clusters; globular; intermingled with bristly bracts that are as long as the sepals.  Flowers occur in the summer.

Fruit is a nutlet.

The plant, though regarded as common weeds, produce tremendous numbers of seeds, and are a important food for many songbirds.  The family is made up mostly of herbs with inconspicuous flowers, usually in spike-like or head-like clusters, often with bristly bracts and vicious thorns



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