Amaranthus graecizans

8. Amaranthus graecizans L. (syn.: A. angustifolius Lam.) (Medit.) – A rare, always ephemeral and much decreasing alien. Probably first seen near Dinant in 1874 (without further details). Formerly rarely seen as a wool alien in the Vesdre valley and only between 1947 and 1962. Elsewhere sometimes seen without obvious vector of introduction, possibly as a birdseed alien. Records from dumps (for instance in Antwerpen and Mechelen in the 1950’s) are most likely associated with birdseed waste. The most recent record probably is from the Vesdre valley in 1962 (Pepinster).

Amaranthus graecizans is very similar to A. blitoides and both are often confused. Amaranthus graecizans is differentiated by female flowers with three tepals, smaller seeds (1-1,3 mm) and by the absence of a hyaline margin on the leaf blades.

Amaranthus graecizans is a rather variable species. Two more or less widespread subspecies are usually distinguished. They are keyed out in the following couplet:

  • Leaf blade lanceolate, ca. 10-15 mm broad (usually at least 3x as long as wide) === subsp. graecizans
  • Leaf blade ovate, up to 40 mm broad (usually less than 3x as long as wide) === subsp. sylvestris

Both subspecies have occurred in Belgium but subsp. sylvestris (Vill.) Brenan (syn.: A. angustifolius Lam. var. sylvestris (Vill.) Thell., A. graecizans var. silvestris (Vill.) Aschers., A. sylvestris Vill.) is by far the commoner. Subsp. graecizans (syn.: A. angustifolius var. angustifolius) has only been recorded exceptionally in Belgium (Duvigneaud & Lambinon 1976). A third subspecies, subsp. thellungianus (Nevski) Gusev, characterised by narrowly linear or lanceolate to rhomboid spathulate leaves and long-aristate tepals and bracteoles with divergent awns, has been recorded in the Czech Republic (Jehlík 1990) and is possibly overlooked elsewhere.

Herbarium specimen

Amaranthus graecizans


Selected literature:

Costea M., Sanders A. & Waines G. (2001b) Notes on some little known Amaranthus taxa (Amaranthaceae) in the United States. Sida 19(4): 975-992.

Duvigneaud J. & Lambinon J. (1976) Quelques Amaranthus intéressants ou nouveaux pour la flore belge. Dumortiera 5: 20-26.

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

Iamonico D. (2014) Amaranthus graecizans s.l. (Amaranthaceae) in Italia: note tassonomiche e distributive. Inform. Bot. Ital. 46(1): 39-46.

Jehlík V. (1990) Amaranthaceae. In: Hejný S. & Slavík B. (eds.), Kvĕtena České Republiky, vol. 2. Academia, Praha: 291-310.

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