Amaranthaceae, Amaranth or Pigweed Family
Includes the Chenopodiaceae
Amaranthaceae or the Amaranth Family consists of annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs often in alkaline or salt heavy habitats. They have primitive or simple reproductive characteristics and small capsule fruits that split open along its circumference (circumscissile). Leaves are simple, mostly alternate and some almost vestigial reduced to small scales. They are mostly without large showy flowers and elaborate fruits with advanced strategies for seed dispersal.
Amaranthaceae now include the Chenopodiaceae or Goosefoot Family as they share many of the same characteristics.
Amaranths have few economically important species but some are significant such as spinach and chard both of which provide substantial amounts of protein. Many members of the family are weedy and thrive in hot dry desert habitats such as those found in the southwestern part of the United States.
With the inclusion of the Chenopodiacace there are over 160 genera and more than 7,700 accepted species. About 30 species in Arizona.
- Alternanthera caracasana, Khaki Weed
- Amaranthus albus, Prostrate Pigweed
- Amaranthus fimbriatus, Fringed Amaranth
- Amaranthus palmeri, Carelessweed
- Gomphrena caespitosa, Tufted Globe Amaranth
- Gomphrena nitida, Pearly Globe Amaranth
- Gomphrena sonorae, Sonoran Globe Amaranth
- Guilleminea densa, Small Matweed
- Tidestromia lanuginosa, Woolly Tidestromia