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You will receive
- 1 Amaranth Mira Herb Plant in a 50 X 75mm tube - General growing instructions
All of our Herb Plants are grown organically with certified organic potting mixes and fertilizers
Botanical Name: Amaranthus triclour
Amaranthus ‘Mira’ is a cultivar of Amaranthus tricolour, which has numerous varieties with different characteristics. It is a hardy and vigorous annual that may grow up to 1 meter by 50 cm. The tall stems carry the leaves of A. tricolour Mira, which are broad ovate to heart shaped. Many of the leaves have a burgundy red blotch that spreads out from the centre, leaving a darker green edge around each leaf. The veins are quite obvious and follow the leaf up to the point of the heart shape. The flowers are small and appear from spring to autumn, held on long stalks in a showy display. When multi-planted they are a strong garden presence.
Amaranthus tricolour is a hardy group of annual plants with leave ranging in colour from yellow to red and green. The popular variety called ‘Joseph’s Coat’ is the main plant from which the other varieties are derived. The biblical reference to Joseph is made as a result of the multi-coloured nature of the plants. The plant is known as bhajiin in India where it is very popular.
A. tricolour is the most important species of Amaranthus in Asia and is considered to be synonymous with A. gangeticus. This variety originated from South East Asia and was carried to other regions. Amaranthus ‘Mira’ is very similar to the Garnet Red variety in growth requirements and habit.
Historically, the amaranthus plant was held in high esteem and considered to be holy by the early Greeks. During these times the plant was believed to have special curative powers and was bestowed with the mark of immortality. It was used to decorate drawings of Gods and on tombs. The name, amaranthus, was derived from the Greek for immortality meaning ‘unwithering’.
There are over 60 species of Amaranthus and botanists are undecided about the true classification of many varieties. Amaranths come in many sizes, colours and leaf shapes and add great colour to the garden. Most varieties do not have a true common name, except to be called Chinese Spinach in some regions of the world. Identification of specific varieties is often from commercially derived marketing identities.
There is another Amaranthus, A. caudatus that also goes by the name Mira. This plant has green leaves and long red plumes of catkin like flowers that droop downwards.
Amaranth Mira will tolerate a wide range of soil types, including sandy, loam and clay soils. It has some acid tolerance, and prefers rich, but well-drained soil. The mineral uptake from the soil is high, so an enriched soil is preferred. Mira grows rapidly and has a high water requirement, although it is said to be drought tolerant once established.
It is quite a tall, delicate and soft leaved plant, with wind protection is vital. Amaranth prefers a warm position in the sun and the plant does not tolerate shade well. Ideal conditions would include humidity, although this is not essential. In the tropical regions, Amaranth Mira is likely to grow all year round. It grows very well at daytime temperatures above 25C and night temperatures above 15C. Interestingly it is also frost tolerant.
The Amaranthus plant is self-fertile and will self-seed if allowed, ensuring a supply for the following year. It is easily wind pollinated and you may find plants growing in different parts of the garden. The seed can also be saved and you can sow it directly into the ground where soil temperatures are warm enough. Alternatively, sow into seed trays and plant out when frost and cooler conditions have passed. It is important to sow the seeds at least 15-25 mm deep because they do not like light conditions for germination. The plants will grow readily from cuttings. To collect the seed, simply hold a paper bag under or around the seed heads and collect them into the bag.
Amaranthus tricolour ‘Mira’ shares an interesting aspect of the Amaranthus genus and photosynthesises using a C4 carbon fixation pathway. This helps the plants grow faster by using light and water more efficiently in converting CO2 to carbohydrates. This process is more efficient in high temperature areas, with bright sunlight and dry conditions. Most plants use a C3 pathway, but others like maize, sorghum and sugar cane also use a C4 pathway. Amaranthus Mira is one of the fastest growing varieties with harvest possible after just 55 days.
The seeds are very small, but also highly nutritious and can be harvested quite easily. The plant is said to be more nutritious than other green leafy vegetables, and is a warm region substitute for spinach. Amaranthus varieties have been used as food sources for centuries and have value nutritional equal to or surpassing pseudo grains like quinoa. They were highly valued as a food source for the Aztec communities, being used as flours and cereal sources.
Amaranthus is considered to be an important food source, particularly in Asia where it is cultivated commercially. Many scientists consider Amaranthus to be an underutilised and undervalued food source in modern society. More information can be found under Amaranth – Edible Red.
The general use of amaranth today is ornamental and edible, with limited use for health maintenance. Amaranth contains tannins and some varieties of amaranth have had some traditional use as astringents and tonics, for example a mouth gargle for mouth ulcers or digestive concerns.
Amaranth is also used for creating dyes that are used for colouring food and medicines. The whole plant produces green and yellow dyes, but the part of the plant that produces the red dye is unknown. Naturally only some plants have the appropriate red leaves.
All information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Please seek professional advice before commencing any treatment.
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