AmaranthaceaeAmaranth family

  - Leaves alternate or opposite, entire, often soft and thin with narrow base.
  - Without stipules.
  - Inflorescence branched.
  - Flowers small, 4-5-parted, tepals greenish red, stamens opposite tepals, often unisexual.
  - Fruit berry-like, dry with many flat seeds.

Diagnosis: Herbs, shrubs and climbers, without stipules, leaves simple, alternate or opposite, entire, often weedy. 1. Shrubs or treelets, without stipules, leaves simple, alternate, entire, membranous, petioles often purple, blades elliptic and narrowing at each end, fruit a dry berry with flat seeds (Pleuropetalum).

Local distribution: More common on dry Pacific slope.

Similar families
Acanthaceae: stem swollen above the node, flowers zygomorphic with fused corolla lobes.
Phytolaccaceae: inflorescence unbranched, stamens alternate with tepals, fruit juicy.
Solanaceae: look for paired leaves, stellate hairs, strong odors.

Diversity: Total: 7 genera, 12 species. Treelets: 1 genus, 1 species.

Comments: In fruit, Pleuropetalum spruceanum, the only species with real treelet growth form , can easily be confused with Solanaceae. Occurs in light gaps, edges, and along streams.

Credits: Images and text copyright 2000-2007, William A. Haber,