Amaranthus blitoides is an annual C4 herb (Downton 1971; Costea and Tardif 2003), to 60 cm, stems mostly prostrate, often pinkish to purplish, much branched.
Leaves alternate, stalk elongate, blade to 2 cm long, oblong to widest above middle, pale green, tip rounded, base tapered to stalk, often crowded near tips of stems.
Flowers greenish, very small, sexes separate, sepals 4-5, bracts about as long as sepals, barely bristle-tipped, veins conspicuous, green branching; inflorescence of short, dense axillary clusters; mostly self pollinated (Costea and Tardif 2003).
Fruit dry, 1-seeded, to 0.2 cm, lens-shaped, mostly smooth, July-Oct. Seeds dispersed when old stem breaks and dry plant blows across the ground. Also dispersed by water (Costea and Tardif 2003).
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Origin: Western N. America.
Habitat: Open, dry areas.
Notes: Seeds edible. Used by Native Americans. Red pigments are betacyanins. Plants eaten by rabbits and other mammals, seeds eaten by many birds. Host to the flies Asphondylia amaranthi and Tetanops myopaeformis (Costea and Tardif 2003).