Herb latin name: Amaranthus bidentata
Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth Family, Pigweed Family)
Medicinal use of Amaranthus bidentata:The leaves are antiphlogistic, diuretic, emmenagogue and tonic.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Roadsides and waste places.
Edible parts of Amaranthus bidentata:Leaves - cooked. Used as a spinach. Seed - cooked. Very small and fiddly, but the seed is very nutritious. The seed can be cooked whole, and becomes very gelatinous like this, but it is rather difficult to crush all of the small seeds in the mouth and thus some of the seed will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated.
Other uses of the herb:Yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant.
Propagation of Amaranthus bidentata:Seed - sow late spring in situ. Germination is usually rapid and good if the soil is warm. A drop in temperature overnight aids germination. An earlier sowing can be made in pots in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots and plant out in late spring, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of growing plants root easily.
Cultivation of the herb:Roadsides and waste places.
Known hazards of Amaranthus bidentata:No members of this genus are known to be poisonous, but when grown on nitrogen-rich soils they are known to concentrate nitrates in the leaves. This is especially noticeable on land where chemical fertilizers are used. Nitrates are implicated in stomach cancers, blue babies and some other health problems. It is inadvisable, therefore, to eat this plant if it is grown inorganically.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.