Amaranthus retroflexus, or pigweed, is a wild Amaranth species in the United States.
The name derives from the plant's tendency to sprout where hogs are pasture fed. Although both the leaves and seeds are edible, pigweed has not been cultivated as a food crop. The virtue of amaranth is that in light soils it will produce food under harsh and lackluster nutrient conditions much like the grain sorghum. It is a very efficient grain crop. Amaranth from its start as a plant has literally fed a worldwide population currently where there are varieties for their greens, varieties for grain, combinations and even ornamentals. First some history.
Amaranth has been cultivated as a grain for 8,000 years. The yield of grain amaranth is comparable to rice or maize. It was a staple food of the Aztecs, and was used as an integral part of Aztec religious ceremonies. Many food and herbal plants have been labeled, the Food of the Gods, but of the plant, Amaranth, this is an actual fact. Amaranth was regarded as supernatural by pre-Columbian Aztecs. Before the Spanish invasion of their lands, Aztec women would make a mixture of ground amaranth seed and honey or human blood from their religious practice of human sacrifice.
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