Amaranthus spinosus L.

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Amaranthus spinosus

Picture: Bart Wursten
Zambian bank, Katombora, Zambezi

Amaranthus spinosus

Picture: Bart Wursten
Zambian bank, Katombora, Zambezi

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Common names:
Status: Native
Annual herb, mostly erect, up to 1.5 m. Leaves glabrous or with sparse hairs on the main veins below, long petiolate, up to 9 cm. The leaf axils bear pairs of fine and slender spines. Flowers green in axillary clusters and branched terminal spikes. Male flowers in the apical part of the spikes.
Type location:
Notes: This species is generally quite easily distinguished by the presence of the sharp axillary spines.
Derivation of specific name: spinosus: spiny
Habitat: A weed in disturbed or overgrazed areas, usually near water.
Altitude range: Up to 1370 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world; also sporadic in warm temperate areas
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): B,N,W,C,E,S
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Nw,Lp,E,Lk,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 5.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 16.

Pickering, H. & Roe, E. (2009). Wild Flowers of the Victoria Falls Area Helen Pickering, London Page 21. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 21.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 195.

Townsend, C.C. (1988). Amaranthaceae Flora Zambesiaca 9(1) Pages 48 - 52. (Includes a picture).

Wild, H. (1955). Common Rhodesian Weeds Government of Rhodesia, Salisbury Page 28. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Amaranthus spinosus:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Amaranthus spinosus
Flora of Caprivi: Amaranthus spinosus
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Amaranthus spinosus
Flora of Malawi: Amaranthus spinosus
Flora of Mozambique: Amaranthus spinosus
Flora of Zimbabwe: Amaranthus spinosus

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Amaranthus spinosus
African Plant Database: Amaranthus spinosus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Amaranthus spinosus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Amaranthus spinosus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Amaranthus spinosus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Amaranthus spinosus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Amaranthus spinosus
JSTOR Plant Science: Amaranthus spinosus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Amaranthus spinosus
Plants of the World Online: Amaranthus spinosus
Tropicos: Amaranthus spinosus
Wikipedia: Amaranthus spinosus

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Amaranthus spinosus., retrieved 24 February 2024

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