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Statewide IPM Program, University of California

Low amaranth  (Amaranthus deflexus)

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Life stages of Low amaranth infestation in turf seeds and fruit seedling flowering stem

Low amaranth is a prostrate or spreading summer annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial. In California plants most often appear to be annual or biennial. They are found in the central-western and southwestern regions of California, up to 2100 feet (650 m). Low amaranth inhabits agricultural land and other disturbed places. In southern California, it is often found in urban environments, most frequently on compacted soils and in pavement cracks.


Crop fields, orchards, vineyards, roadsides, gardens, landscaped areas, and disturbed, unmanaged places.


Cotyledons (seed leaves) are narrow, wider in the middle, and taper to a point at the tip. Leaf stalks are often reddish. The first true leaf is egg shaped to diamond shaped with an indented tip.

Mature plant

The mature plant is low growing. The stems are slender, generally have many branches, grow prostrate or horizontal with only the tips pointing upward, and can reach 20 inches (0.5 m) long. Leaves are egg to diamond shaped, covered with short soft hairs, range from 1/5 to 2 inches (0.5–5 cm) long, a dull grayish green, and are alternate to one another along the stem. Leaf stalks are almost as long as the leaf blades.


Flowers bloom from May through November. Flowers cluster along spikelike flowering stems. Flowers are usually pinkish green or pinkish brown.


The fruits are football shaped, fleshy, inflated, about 1/10 of an inch  (3 mm) long, and do not split open at maturity.


Seeds are oval, smooth, shiny, and reddish black.

Related or similar plants

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