Amaranthus spinosus

Amaranthus spinosus L.

Common Names: Calalue

Family: Amaranthaceae

Habit: Amaranthus spinosus grows as an annual or perennial to 50 cm in height (usually shorter). Sharp spines at the nodes. The mostly glabrous leaves are arranged alternately, ovate-lanceolate, with an entire margin and obtuse leaf apex. Adaxial surface with an inverted “V” shaped mark.

The incomplete, imperfect, zygomorphic flowers are arranged in tight terminal and upper axillary panicles. The flowers are subtended by 3-4 bracts and numerous hairs. The calyx has 5 unfused sepals.  There is no corolla.   The staminate flowers have 5 unfused stamens and no carpel. The carpellate flowers have a superior ovary with a single locule and seed and no stamens.  The fruit is an achene at maturity.

Habitat: Amaranthus spinosus grows in Human Altered environments (yards, abandoned fields, roadsides).

Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Amaranthus spinosus occurs on all island groupings within the Lucayan Archipelago as well as the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America.  It has become a pan tropical and subtropical weed.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Amaranthus spinosus is not used medicinally in the Bahamas.  In other countries it has been used medicinally.

The leaves are edible.