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Amaranthus tricolor0.jpg
Amaranthus tricolor
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Amaranthoideae

about 57 genera, see text

The Amaranthoideae are a subfamily of the Amaranthaceae. The stamens have anthers with two lobes (locules) and four pollen sacs. The main distribution of the subfamily is in tropical America, in tropical and Southern Africa, and in Australia.

The genera Amaranthus (the amaranths) and Celosia (the cockscombs) contain many ornamental species, as well as species whose seeds are used as pseudocereals and leaves as leaf vegetables.

Amaranthus retroflexus, cladus Amaranthoids
Celosia argentea, Celosieae
Aerva lanata, cladus Aervoids
Achyranthes splendens, cladus Achyranthoids


The subfamily Amaranthoideae comprises about 57 genera with about 330 species. Phylogenetical research revealed that the subfamily is polyphyletic and its traditional classification (tribe Amarantheae Rchb. with two subtribes Amaranthinae und Aervinae) does not reflect the phylogenetic relationship.[1] Therefore, a new taxonomical grouping is required. Müller & Borsch (2005) recognized several clades:[1]

  • basal group:
    • Bosea L., on Macaronesian Islands, and in Cyprus and western Himalaya.
    • Charpentiera Gaudich., endemic to Hawaii and the Australian Ridge (Tubuai-Islands)
  • Cladus Amaranthoids:
    • Amaranthus L. (Syn.: Acnida L., Amblogyna Raf.), with about 60 species, occurring also extratropical in temperate regions.
    • Chamissoa Kunth, with about 24 species in Middle and South America.
  • Tribus Celosieae, with multiovulate ovaries. This tribe is the only monophyletic one.[1] With about 5 genera and about 69 species:
  • Cladus Aervoids, in tropical regions of Africa and Asia:
    • Aerva Forssk., with about 10 species.
    • Nothosaerva Wight
    • Ptilotus R.Br. (Syn.: Dipteranthemum F.Muell., Trichinium R.Br.), with about 110 species in Australia
  • Cladus Achyranthoids, in tropical regions of Africa and Asia and on Pacific islands:
  • Many genera are not yet investigated for their grouping into clades:


  1. ^ a b c Kai Müller & Thomas Borsch (2005): Phylogenetics of Amaranthaceae using matK/trnK sequence data – evidence from parsimony, likelihood and Bayesian approaches, In: Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 92, p. 66-102.