Amaranthus albus

1. Amaranthus albus L. (N-Am.) – A rather common but usually ephemeral alien. Probably first documented from the surroundings of the railway station of Gent in 1857 (and subsequently confirmed in 1858). Formerly introduced with wool but only exceptionally so. Mostly and these days nearly exclusively associated with cereals. Usually found in or near port areas (wasteland near grain mills, under grain conveyors, unloading quays,…), by road verges and railway tracks or on dumps.

In rather few locations – mostly concentrated in the ports of Antwerpen and Gent and some urban areas – Amaranthus albus is considered to be recently naturalised (Saintenoy-Simon & al. 1995, Verloove 2002). It is usually found on dry, gravelly soil, most often on disused railway yards.

Amaranthus albus and A. blitoides are more or less alike, especially in the non-flowering stage. Both are frequently confused, especially in herbaria. However, they are readily distinguished on floral characters (see key). Mosyakin & Robertson (2003) further refer to diagnostic characters of seeds in both species: seeds shiny and 0,6-1 mm in Amaranthus albus and seeds dull and 1,3-1,6 mm in A. blitoides.

Herbarium specimen

Amaranthus albus

Amaranthus albus, Gent (port area), rough ground by railway tracks, August 2011, I. Jacobs. Amaranthus albus, Gent (port area), rough ground by railway tracks, August 2011, I. Jacobs.
Amaranthus albus, Gent (port area), rough ground by railway tracks, August 2011, I. Jacobs.  

 


Selected literature:

Easy G.M.S. (1979) Amaranthus species in Cambridgeshire. A preliminary examination. BSBI News 22: 17-20.

Mosyakin S.L. & Robertson K.R. (2003) Amaranthus. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (eds.), Flora of North America, vol. 4. Oxford University Press, New York-Oxford: 410-435.

Saintenoy-Simon J., Godefroid S. & Verhelpen B. (1995) Groupe Flore Bruxelloise. Notes floristiques relatives à la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale (1991-1993). Adoxa 6-7: 27-37.

Verloove F. (2002) Ingeburgerde plantensoorten in Vlaanderen. Mededeling van het Instituut voor Natuurbehoud n° 20: 227 p.

Verloove F. (2006) Amaranthus albus. In: Van Landuyt W., Hoste I., Vanhecke L., Van den Bremt P., Vercruysse W. & De Beer D., Atlas van de flora van Vlaanderen en het Brussels gewest. Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Nationale Plantentuin van België en Flo.Wer: 129.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith