Sp. Pl. 2: 991. 1753
Illustrator: Yevonn Wilson-Ramsey
Phenology: Flowering summer–fall.
Habitat: Banks of rivers, lakes, and streams, disturbed habitats, agricultural fields, railroads, roadsides, waste areas
Elevation: 0-2500 m
St. Pierre and Miquelon, Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.W.T., N.S., Nunavut, Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Ala., Alaska, Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo., introduced and naturalized nearly worldwide.
Amaranthus retroflexus, native to central and eastern North America, is a successful invasive species and has effectively colonized a wide range of habitats on all inhabited continents. Its variability is extremely wide; usually the species is easily recognized and its identification causes no specific problems. Infraspecific entities described within A. retroflexus are mostly ecologic variants of little or no taxonomic value. Two varieties are more easily recognized: the common var. retroflexus, with bracts about 1.5–2 times as long as tepals, and a more rare var. delilei (Richter & Loret) Thellung (= A. delilei Richter & Loret), with bracts 1–1.5 times as long as tepals.
Occasional forms morphologically intermediate between Amaranthus retroflexus and taxa of the A. hybridus aggregate (e.g., A. powellii and A. hybridus, in the strict sense) are known both in the Americas and the Old World. Usually such plants are treated as hybrids; in many cases they are probably just extremes of the natural variability of A. retroflexus. Putative hybrids of A. retroflexus were described from Europe as A. ×ozanonii Thellung (A. hybridus × A. retroflexus) and A. ×soproniensis Priszter & Karpáti (A. powellii × A. retroflexus) (see A. Thellung 1914–1919; S. Priszter 1958; P. Aellen 1959; F. Grüll and S. Priszter 1973).