Amaranth (Family Amaranthaceae)
The flowering plant family Amaranthaceae, the Amaranth Family,
contains about 160 genera and 2,400 species. Most of these species
are herbs or subshrubs; very few are trees or climbers. This is a
widespread and cosmopolitan family found mostly in subtropical
and tropical regions, although many species belong in cool temper-
In the APG II system of 2003 (unchanged from the APG system,
of 1998), the Family Amaranthaceae is placed in the order Caryo-
phyllales. It includes the plants formerly treated as the Family
Chenopodiaceae. Prior to the incorporation of Chenopodiaceae,
Family Amaranthaceae contained only about 65 genera and 900
species. This new, broadly defined Family Amaranthaceae has been
strongly supported by both morphological and phylogenetic analyses.
Some well-known former family Chenopodiaceae species include
beet, goosefoot, quinoa, and spinach.
Some species of Amaranthaceae are considered weeds, but a num-
ber of others are popular garden ornamental plants, especially species
from Alternanthera, Amaranthus, Celosia, and Iresine. Notable mem-
bers include amaranth and tumbleweeds.
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