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Amaranth (Amaranthus), fam. Amaranthaceae.
Urban weeds and ornamental (usually with purple leaves) plants. Absent in the forest. Probably, they will appear there as well, starting from the roadsides, like most our weeds. Amaranth likes warmth (there is no sense to look for it in spring - it appears only in summer), and fertile soil.
The name of the genus means "fadeless flower". The plant originates from America, where the indigenous people used it as food at least for 8 thousand years. The leaves are edible, quickly soften when cooked, and have pleasant taste. The best are the top leaves just before flowering of the shoot. It is more difficult to gather and to husk the seeds, though they can be bought in specialized stores. They are used like most other cereals, and may also be sprouted. Both amaranth seeds and leaves contain complete protein; they are rich in minerals and vitamins. They are restorative and tonic, normalize the metabolism. Besides, amaranth is a promising feed for domestic animals.