Thursday, 10 January 2008


Out of the 315 odd families some 50to 60 are commoner and more important.
This week's family is

Amaranthaceae.Cockscomb family.
Greek amarantos : unfading....long lasting flowers.

India and tropical America are chief distribution centres.
Large family--Includes some garden plants and pot herbs.
Vegetative characters :annual or perennial herbs,shrubs and rarely erect or climbing shrubs.
Stems often show abnormal secondary growth.
Leaves:alternate or opposite exstipulate,simple usually entire.
Flowers and Inflorescences:Small flowers are aggregated into simple or branched panicles spike s heads or cymes.Flowers are actinomorphic,bisexual or frequently unisexual,pentamerous and hypogynous.
Calyx-5 free basally connate sepals.
Petals are absent.Stamens are 5 and areopposite the sepals.
Sometimes nectar secreting disc is present.(bosia)
Pollination and dispersal:Nectar disc and showy flowers ==>insectpollination
Gomphrena--winged fruits=>dispersal by wind.Achyranthus Cyathula and Pupalia develop hooks on sepals which adhere to passing animals and humans.
Economic Importance:Little.
Few are used as food.
Amaranthus (Mar.Chavalai)Leafy vegetable.
Celosia argentea:spikes attract butterflies,Tender shoots are cooked and eaten
Alternanthera tenella and A.sessilis are common weeds.
Gomphrena globosa.
Achyranthus aspera (Aghada)

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