The Greek word for amaranth means “never waxing-old” so the amaranth flower was originally an everlasting flower. What was originally an amaranth to the ancient Greeks was what we now know as our Globe Amaranth and nowadays we also call it Gomphrena, which is its botanical name.
However, there are about 60 species of annuals and short-lived perennials that are also given the genus name amaranthus that are grown mainly in warm regions of the world as ornamentals with brilliant color. For example, Amaranthus caudatus has the common name love-lies-bleeding, and it grows 4 feet high with dark red drooping, cord-like flowers that hang down. It grows only in zones 8-11.
Another plant that grows in zones 8-11 is Amaranthus tricolor, native to tropical Asia and Africa. It has given rise to many variants including even vegetables as well as ornamentals such as ‘Joseph’s Coat’ and ‘Flaming Fountain’ with brilliant, variegated leaves. This genus actually includes Chinese spinach as well as bedding plants, grain crops, and ornamentals. Most are rarely seen in American gardens.
Globe Amaranth is always available here, however, and it dries beautifully for winter bouquets.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on Amaranthus.