Amaranthus tricolor


Sp. Pl.2: 989. 1753

Common names: Joseph’s coat summer poinsettia
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Treatment on page 433. Mentioned on page 405, 411, 413.
Plants annual, glabrous. Stems erect, often branched, 0.8–1.5 m. Leaves: petiole 1/2 as long as blade; blade ovate, elliptic, rhombic, or lanceolate, mostly 4–12 × 1.4–6 cm, base tapering, margins entire, usually undulate, apex acuminate and short-mucronate; distal leaf blades green, red, scarlet, maroon, purple, yellow, and cream (unique to A. tricolor). Inflorescences axillary glomerules. Bracts of pistillate flowers ovate to lanceolate, 5–6 mm. Pistillate flowers: tepals 3, narrowly ovate to lanceolate, 5–6 mm, apex aristate; style branches spreading; stigmas 2–3. Staminate flowers intermixed with pistillate; tepals 3; stamens 3. Utricles ovoid, 2–2.5 mm, rugose, dehiscence regularly circumscissile. Seeds black or brownish black, subglobose, 1 mm diam., shiny.

Phenology: Flowering summer–fall.
Habitat: Locally escaped from cultivation, disturbed areas


La., Mich., Mo., native in tropical Asia.


Amaranthus tricolor is widely cultivated as a garden plant for its showy, often variegated, distal leaves of striking colors—red, scarlet, maroon, purple, yellow, cream, and green. Other cultivated varieties with green leaves are sometimes cultivated as a potherb. Escaped plants sometimes occur near places of cultivation; we have no evidence of widespread establishment.



Lower Taxa

No lower taxa listed.

Facts about "Amaranthus tricolor"
AuthorSergei L. Mosyakin + and Kenneth R. Robertson +
AuthorityLinnaeus +
BasionymsUndefined subg. Albersia +
Common nameJoseph’s coat + and summer poinsettia +
DistributionLa. +, Mich. +, Mo. + and native in tropical Asia. +
HabitatLocally escaped from cultivation, disturbed areas +
Illustration copyrightFlora of North America Association +
IllustratorYevonn Wilson-Ramsey +
Introducedtrue +
PhenologyFlowering summer–fall. +
Publication titleSp. Pl. +
Publication year1753 +
ReferenceNone +
Source xml grained fna xml/V4/V4 848.xml +
SynonymsAcanthochiton +, Acnida +, Albersia +, Amblogyna +, Euxolus +, Mengea +, Sarratia + and Scleropus +
Taxon familyAmaranthaceae +
Taxon nameAmaranthus tricolor +
Taxon parentAmaranthus subg. Albersia +
Taxon rankspecies +
VolumeVolume 4 +