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Discovering Amaranthus Cannabinus

 
Posts: 58
Location: Quebec
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Amaranthus Cannabinus, known as Tidalmarsh amaranth or Salt marsh pigweed, is a perennial amaranth that grows on the eastern seaboard.

I've found very little information about it, wikipedia says it can get 3 meters high and shoot lightning from it's arse, but thats about it.

How cold hardy is it ? Is it edible ? How fast does it grow? I mean, it's not even in the plants for a future database.

I definitely was not able to find any seeds for it and the furthest north I've seen it on iNaturalist seems to be Portland, Maine (zone 5b) (https://inaturalist.ca/observations?nelat=44.53631229897092&nelng=-69.33999854387045&place_id=any&swlat=35.29119886461124&swlng=-85.90738135637045&taxon_id=145530)

Does anybody know of it or even have seeds ?
 
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Location: SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS, CA
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How exciting Patrick!  I haven’t heard of this variety before. I love discovering new perennial veggies!  I’ll join you in a mission to track this one down and will make sure to share if I find any leads.
 
steward
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Location: Maine, zone 5
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Wow Patrick...I had no idea there were such large amaranth plants out there.  I'm a little south of Portland and I'll start keeping a look out for those.  Will ask around too.
 
Greg Martin
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Location: Maine, zone 5
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Today at lunch time I snuck my way down to the tidal river zone of the Mousam River to poke around.  Everything has died back, but I was hoping that I'd be able to ID it based on it's structure.  Either it wasn't where I was looking or else I just couldn't ID it at this killed back stage.  I'll keep doing little lunch expeditions to try and find it, but it may be that I need to do this again next summer and fall.  I'll put a reminder on my calendar so that I don't forget to continue the quest!  If any way possible I'm getting you seeds from this plant's northern limit Patrick.  
Are you hoping to do some crosses with the annuals?  It would sure be wonderful to have a lovely perennial grain and greens crop....perhaps ornamental to boot?
 
Patrick Marchand
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Location: Quebec
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Hey Greg, Thanks for the foraging !

I've ordered two annual amaranth varieties from bakers creek. If I can get seeds for cannabinus, I might try two different plots, one with only the perennial and the other with all of them mixed. I'd be worried that a less cold hardy variety could pull it's cold hardiness down before I can get a few generations in and acclimate it. But then again, I have less than an acre of space right now, so whatever happens, happens.
 
Patrick Marchand
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Location: Quebec
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Thanks to a tip by Greg Martin, I just received two accessions of amaranthus cannabinus from the USDA ! I might try planting them this winter so I can get more seeds for a wider summer planting, but I have limited space indoors.

I'm also seeing conflicting reports about it being a perennial, wikipedia and it's sources say it's a perennial, but a paper I read describes it as an annual. I guess I'll find out for myself !
 
Greg Martin
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Location: Maine, zone 5
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Excellent news Patrick!  I got those accessions as well and have some local friends interested as well.  It'll be fun to see how this all plays out.  Thank you so much for identifying this target!
 
Patrick Marchand
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Location: Quebec
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Hey, I planted my seeds for PI641041 two weeks ago and I'm seeing some germination. I'll add pictures one theres an actual seedling.
 
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Location: Zone 4a/5b, New Brunswick, Canada
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I'm really interested in this! We have a few parts of our property where we could plant some of this if it is worth the effort. Looking forward to updates from you both.
 
Patrick Marchand
Posts: 58
Location: Quebec
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I havent had much luck yet with germination, out of the ten seeds I planted only two of the PI641041 accession have germinated, and of those two, one died pretty quickly from drought (spent an extra day at my girlfriend's, what could go wrong..?)

The one that has survived is doing great though !

I wonder if a period of cold stratification would help with germination ? Or maybe they got too dry at some point.
amaranthus_cannabinus.jpg
Amaranthus Cannabinus PI641041 seedling in 4 inch soil block
Amaranthus Cannabinus PI641041 seedling in 4 inch soil block
 
Patrick Marchand
Posts: 58
Location: Quebec
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I moved two weeks ago and started putting it outside, it kind of got mistreated by the wind and I think I waited too long to repot it, but I woke up this morning and the wind had cut it in twain. There's still a leaf on the lower part so I repotted both parts, hoping one of them will form roots.
 
It's a tiny ad only because the water is so cold.
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