Amaranthus tricolor L.

Last updated: 06 Apr 2015

Scientific Name

Amaranthus tricolor L.


Amaranthus amboinicus Buch.-Ham. ex Wall., Amaranthus bicolor Nocca ex Willd., Amaranthus cuspidatus Vis., Amaranthus dubius Mart. [Invalid], Amaranthus flexuosus Moq., Amaranthus gangeticus L., Amaranthus inamoenus Willd., Amaranthus incomptus Willd., Amaranthus japonicus Houtt. ex Willd., Amaranthus japonicus Houtt. ex Steud., Amaranthus lanceolatus Roxb., Amaranthus lancifolius Roxb., Amaranthus lividus Roxb. [Illegitimate], Amaranthus mangostanus L., Amaranthus mangostanus Blanco, Amaranthus melancholicus L., Amaranthus mucronatus Hook.f., Amaranthus oleraceus Roxb., Amaranthus polygamus Roxb., Amaranthus polygamus Thwaites, Amaranthus rotundifolius Moq., Amaranthus salicifolius H.J.Veitch, Amaranthus tristis L., Amaranthus tristis Wall. [missapplied], Blitum gangeticum Moench, Blitum melancholicum Moench, Glomeraria bicolor Cav. ex Moq., Glomeraria tricolor (L.) Cav. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Bayam [2]
English Chinese spinach, joseph’s coat [2], edible amaranth, edible amaranth spinanch [3]
China Yan lai hong [2], yin choi (Cantonese); heng chai, yin chai (Hokkien); xian chai (Mandarin)[3]
India Khutura, ramadana, totakura (India); chauli, chalveri (Hindi); cheers, chulai (Mala)[3]
Indonesia Bayem, senggang, ternak [3]
Japan Seiyo-ha-geito [2]

Geographical Distributions

This genus is widely distributed. Amaranthus tricolor origi­nated from Southeast Asia but has been carried to other regions by emigrants. By far, the most important species in Southeast Asia is A. tricolor, followed by A. dubius and A. cruentus. [4]

Botanical Description

A. tricolor comes from the family of Amaranthaceae. It is an erect, annual herb which can grow up to 1.5 m tall. [4]

The leaves are elliptical to lance-shaped or broad-ovate, dark green, light green or red. [4]

Clusters of flowers are ax­illary, often spherical or slightly spherical, and with a reduced terminal spike, but occasionally the terminal spike is well-developed. There are 3 tepals. [4]

The fruit is dehiscent with a dehiscing lid. [4]

The seeds are black and relatively large with about 1200-2900 seeds/g. [4]


A. tricolor is characterised by the C4-cycle pho­tosynthetic pathway, which exhibits high photo­synthesis at high temperature and radiation. It grows well at day temperatures above 25°C and night temperatures not lower than 15°C. In Indonesia, the temperature is too low above 800 m for A. tricolor which causes growth re­tardation. Shade is disadvantageous ex­cept in cases of drought stress. A. tricolor is a quantitative short-day plant, which is an advan­tage in the subtropics where the generative stage is retarded during summer. Due to rapid growth, water consumption is high. A crop nor­mally uses about 6 mm/day. A. tricolor prefers fer­tile, well-drained soils with a loose structure. The mineral uptake is very high. [4]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure Figure 1: The line drawing of A. tricolor L. [4]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Amaranthus tricolor L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 Apr 6]. Available from:
  2. Umberto Q .CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology. Volume 1. Boca raton, FL: CRC Press; 1999. p. 110
  3. Ong HC. Vegetables for Health and Healing. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications; 2008. p.86
  4. Grubben GJH. Amaranthus L. In: Siemonsma JS, Piluek K, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 8. Vegetables. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers, 1993; p. 82–86.