Rough pigweed

Amaranthus retroflexus

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Status: Abundant

A tall annual, herbaceous plant of the Amaranthaceae family that can grow to a height of three meters, which has invaded from America. The simple, egg-shaped opposite leaves are alternate and very long (12 cm) with hairy margins. They are of a lighter color on their underside. It branches out in to several short spikes but develops a thick central spike. The inflorescence is a complex of branched complex spikes organized at the top of the plant with smaller spikes at side axils. The flowers are very small with a green bract and 2-3 bracteoles. The ovary is superior.

 Ecology: It is considered a weed pest in fields and gardens, as well as empty lots and roadsides. Usually germinates in disturbed soils where it is stronger and faster growing than the local weeds.

Flowering time: It flowers throughout the summer and fall, May-November. The shiny black lentil-shaped seeds enveloped by a 2 mm capsule.

Medicinal and common uses: It is regarded as a treatment for high fever, edema, dysentery, diarrhea, toxic snake bites and bronchitis. The seed is very nutritious although small. The stems and the young leaves are edible, but can become poisonous in soils rich with Nitrate.

Distribution in Palestine: It is very common in the Mediterranean habitats, mainly in lowlands. Quite common is the upper Jordan Valley, the mountains and desert of Samaria and the mountains of Judea.