Plants photographed on Kyffhäuser
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Amaranthus thunbergii Moq.


Amaranthus thunbergii

Stem, leaves + flowers



Family: Amaranthaceae
Full name: Amaranthus thunbergii Moq.
Location: Kyffhäuser (2416AD + 2416CB)
ID status: Fairly certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Rooi misbredie, Misbredie, Sprinkaanbossie, Rooi duiwel, Pers misbredie
English common name(s): Red pigweed, Pigweed, Red devil
Synonym(s): -
Status: Native
Description: Annual herb; main stems decumbent or erect, 0.15-1 m, simple or ± branched, especially below and often throughout their length, with long, kinky hairs when young, becoming glabrescent at maturity. Leaves with petiole up to 5 cm, glabrous or glabrescent along the primary venation on the abaxial side, blade obovate-elliptic to obovate or spatulate, not wavy, 1-4(-5) x (0.6—)1 -3 cm, attenuate to cuneate at the base, obtuse, rounded or retuse at the apex, with a 0.5 mm mucron. Axillary inflorescences, in glomeruli 6-10 mm in diameter, green in color, which become closer towards the apex of the stems, giving foliose terminal inflorescences; bracts and bracteoles deltoid-lanceolate, 1.8-3 mm, usually shorter than sepals, or rarely equaling or slightly exceeding them in length, membranous, with an erect or reflex awn 0.5-1 mm. Flowers of both sexes in the same inflorescence. Staminate flowers with 3 sepals lanceolate to oblong, 2.5-5 mm (with the awn), awned, 3 stamens. Pistillate flowers with 3 lanceolate to ovate-oblong sepals, 2.5-5 mm, unequal, with a green midvein, unbranched, ± reflexes, tapering to a long 0.75-2 mm awn; stigmas three, 0.5-1 mm, reflexed. Dehiscent fruits, with a rough operculum, smooth urn, with a short face, shorter than the sepals; seeds blackish, 1-1.5 mm diam, somewhat shiny, finely reticulated. (from REVISIÓN TAXONÓMICA DE LAS ESPECIES MONOICAS DE AMARANTHUS, ND Bayon, Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Vol. 101, No. 2 (December 2015), pp. 261-383)

Very similar to A. dinteri. The most reliable characteristic in distinguishing these two species is the presence of long crisped hairs on at least the younger parts of A. thunbergii - even though they may be very sparse. (from INDIGENOUS NAMIBIAN LEAFY VEGETABLES: A LITERATURE SURVEY AND PROJECT PROPOSAL by Herta Kolberg, AGRICOLA 2001)

Ascending or erect annual herb, up to c. 55 cm high. Stems simple or branched, angular, almost hairless below but usually with long multicellular hairs towards the top. Leaves more or less narrowly elliptic, rhomboid or spathulate, up to 4.5 × 3 cm, almost hairless or thinly hairy below; base often decurrent along the petiole. Flowers greenish in short axillary clusters, unisexual. Capsule ovoid-ellipsoid, 2.5-3.5 mm long, with a short beak. (from Flora of Botswana website)

Stems furnished above with long, crisped hairs; female perianth-segments with a long (0.75–1.75), slender, flexuose or divergent, generally colourless arista. (from Kew eFloras website / Flora Zambesiaca)

Annual herb, ascending or erect, simple or branched from the base and frequently also above, reaching 15–55 cm. Stem and branches stout, angular, glabrous or thinly hairy below, upwards increasingly furnished with long, crisped, multicellular, rather flocculent hairs. Leaves glabrous, or thinly pilose on the inferior surface of the primary venation, sometimes with a dark purple blotch, long-petiolate (petioles up to c. 4 cm. long, sometimes longer than the lamina), the lamina narrowly or broadly elliptic to rhomboid or spathulate, c. (5) 15–45 (60) × (4) 10–30 (40) mm., blunt or retuse at the apex with the midrib excurrent in a short mucro, at the base cuneate to attenuate, more or less decurrent along the petiole. Flowers green, males most frequent at the top of the upper clusters, all in axillary clusters 6–15 mm. across, approximate above, usually increasingly distant towards the base of the stem and branches with male and female flowers intermixed. Bracts and bracteoles deltoid-lanceolate, bracteoles subequalling or shorter than the perianth, pale-membranous, often greenish centrally above, the midrib often excurrent in a long, fine awn often as long as the basal portion, bracteoles shorter (to 2 mm. long), the awn colourless and often more or less reflexed above. Perianth segments 3, similar in male and female flowers, lanceolate to oblong, or in the females rarely narrowly spathulate, 3–6 mm., pale-membranous or (especially in the female flowers) somewhat greenish above, gradually or more abruptly narrowed into the long (0.75–1.5 mm.) awn formed by the excurrent midrib, the latter green but the divergent or flexuose awn colourless above; fruiting female perianth segments slightly accrescent, wider than those of the male flowers. Stigmas 3, flexuose or often reflexed, pale, 1.5–2 mm. long. Capsule ovoid-ellipsoid to pyriform, c. 2.5–3.5 mm. long, with a short beak, circumcissile, membranous, obscurely wrinkled, shorter than the perianth (attaining the base of the aristate apices). Seed 1–1.5 mm. across, black or chestnut, shining, feebly reticulate. (from Kew eFloras website / Flora Zambesiaca)
Link(s) African Plant Database
JSTOR Plant Science
Kew Herbarium Catalogue
BGBM Berlin-Dahlem - Virtual Herbarium
Züricher Herbarien
iNaturalist (Namibia / Alex Dreyer)
iNaturalist (Namibia)
iNaturalist (southern Africa)
Flora of Zimbabwe
Fleurs de notre Terre - Galerie Namibie
Tree Atlas of Namibia
Photographer: AA Dreyer
Date of photograph: 01 Apr 2022
Camera make: Canon
Camera model: EOS 7D
Lens aperture: f/4.0
Shutter speed: 1/60 s
ISO speed: 400
Content last updated: 18 Apr 2024


Note: The identification of some of the plants on this website is not 100% certain. Any comments will be highly appreciated. I would also be willing to supply higher resolution images upon request. Please contact me at the e-mail address given below.

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