Amaranthus spinosus

(Question)

DO THEY GROW WILD HERE IN TORONTO? I HAVE SEEN SOME WEEDS SIMILAR TO WHAT WE EAT AS VEGETABLES BUT AFRAID TO EAT HERE.

 

(Answer)

 

Thank you for posing this interesting question.  Amaranths is a large family of plants, grown in Canada as annuals for their flowers and colourful leaves.  It has only been recently that Amaranth has been considered a food source for Canadians- and a very nutritious one too.  It is likely that Amaranthus spinosus is not grown in gardens here.  But such other varieties as A. caudate and hypocondriacus are.  A. spinosus may be found growing wild in fields.  Most amaranths are vigorous self-seeders and new plants start annually if sowed in moist fertile ground.  There is no evidence that Amaranth is toxic in quantities consumed by cultures familiar with it.  I would recommend you plant A. spinosus  from seeds each year in mid May.  Also check health food stores, and groceries catering to food from your homeland for the seeds (grain) and the leaves (cooked or for salads). Below is a wonderful link to Canada Food Day- a celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday- and it is all about Amaranth!  I have given you another link for a source of seeds.  It is also full of information about this ‘novel’ food.  I would not recommend that you use plants found along the roadways or in fields even if they have been correctly identified as they may have been treated with pesticide.  Personally I will be on the lookout for amaranth to see what it tastes like.  thank you for this question.

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