Amaranthus viridis is a cosmopolitan species in the botanical family Amaranthaceae and is commonly known as slender amaranth or green amaranth.
Amaranthus viridis is an annual herb with an upright, light green stem that grows to about 60–80 cm in height. Numerous branches emerge from the base, and the leaves are ovate, 3–6 cm long, 2–4 cm wide, with long petioles of about 5 cm. The plant has terminal panicles with few branches, and small green flowers with 3 stamens.
Amaranthus viridis is eaten in Northeastern Indian state Manipur where it is known as Cheng-kruk and eaten traditionally as a vegetable in South India, especially in Kerala, where it is known as "Kuppacheera" കുപ്പച്ചീര. It is a common vegetable in Bengali cuisine and is called "note shak" ("shak" means leafy vegetable).
It is also eaten as a vegetable in parts of Africa. In Jamaica the Amaranthus blitum variety is eaten as a vegetable and is known locally as callaloo (not to be confused with callaloo of most other countries). The leaves of this plant, known as massaagu in Dhivehi, have been used in the diet of the Maldives for centuries in dishes such as mas huni.
In the 19th Century A. viridus, or green amaranth was an item of food in Australia. The botanist Joseph Maiden wrote in 1889: "It is an excellent substitute for spinach, being far superior to much of the leaves of the white beet sold for spinach in Sydney. Next to spinach it seems to be most like boiled nettle leaves, which when young are used in England, and are excellent. This amarantus should be cooked like spinach, and as it becomes more widely known, it is sure to be popular, except amongst persons who may consider it beneath their dignity to have anything to do with so common a weed."
Green amaranth also has clusters of nutty edible seeds, which can be eaten as snacks or used in biscuits. A porridge can be made by boiling the seeds in water. Unlike other amaranths, the seeds can be easily harvested by scraping the ripe spikes of seeds between the fingers.
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- J. H. Maiden (1889). The useful native plants of Australia : Including Tasmania. Turner and Henderson, Sydney.
- R.V. Nair, Controversial drug plants
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