by Stephen Mifsud
   23 Jun 2024      ()
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Amaranthus blitum   (Purple Amaranth)

Amaranthus blitum  (AMARANTHACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Nov-2013 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Amaranthus blitum - datasheet created on Nov-2013. Retrieved from on 23-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Amaranthus blitumL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 990 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Albersia blitum (L.) Kunth
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Amaranthaceae Juss. (The Amaranth Family)
42 species from the Amaranthaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Purple Amaranth

Maltese name(s) :

Denb id-dib tal-qsari

Status for Malta :

Invasive Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta any time after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World), and spreads rapidly to form large invasive populations to the detriment of native flora or ecosystems.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent    Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

May – November

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Amaranthus: From the Greek 'amarantos' meaning unfading. The flowers of several species have a deep purple-red colour (from which the colour amaranth is derived) which retain the colour for a very long time. (Greek origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

Prefers urban places such as Sliema and St. Julians. Distinct from other Amaranthus spp. by its conspicuous notch at the apex of leaves. Leaves of A. viridis also have a notch but very small and not consistent in all leaves.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Several anthropogenic habitats, esp. old cities, fields and farms
Preferred habitat in Malta: Horticulture contaminant often in pots and gardens, but also escapes in waysides or field margins.
Botanical Description: Stems 30-80 cm, procumbent to erect, glabrous. Leaves 2-6 cm, rhombic- to orbicular-ovate, with light or dark spots on the upper surface, subtruncate or emarginate, the margin often undulate. Inflorescence of axillary cymose clusters, forming a dense, more or less leafless spike towards the apex. Bracteoles 1/3-1/2 as long as the perianth, ovate with wide base, acute. Perianth-segments 3(-5), oblong-linear to spathulate. Fruit feebly rugose, without green veins, indehiscent or dehiscing irregularly. Seeds almost as large as the fruit.
Chromosome number: 2n=34
Distributional range: Naturalized in S. Europe
Native region outside Europe: (C. & W. North America.)

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, Austria and Liechtenstein, the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Crete, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part), Introduced in  Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia and former USSR, Sweden
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ab(A) AE(G) Ag Al Au Az Be(B) Bl(M N) Br Bu Ca Co Cr Ct Eg Ga(F) Ge Gg(A D G) Gr He Hs(G S) Hu It Lu Ma Md dMk Rf(CS) Sa Si(M S) Sl Sn Tn Tu(E) [Au Az(C F G J L M P S T) Be nBH nBu By Ca(C F G H L P T) nCo aDa nEs aFe nGa(F) Ge nGg nHo Hu nIJ nIr nLa nLt nMa Md(M) Mo aNo nPo aRf(C CS E NW S) Rf(K) Rm nSk nSr aSu Sy Uk(K U)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (2 images)
   Amaranthus blitum   -   Image Code: AMRBL-0.
   Amaranthus blitum   -   Image Code: AMRBL-1.

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