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for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
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Red Pigweed and Palmer Amaranth (massively-weed!) identified !  RSS feed

 
gardener
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Moved it to here from Todd Parr's ID a weed.

I have this stuff all over and it gets several feet tall. I have had specimens reach 11 feet and need to be cut with a reciprocating saw (sawzall) or a small chain saw! Up to about 7 feet you have a chance with a fairly big lawn tractor and a large deck to take it down. A chance. (I hung it up on a 7' today)

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A pretty 3 color "painted" one
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6' spouse in front of some starting to bloom and head
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7' plus from tractor
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Growing habit and leaves, same plant
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Leaf closeup. This died next pass very greenly-mulchy
 
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It's the weed version of amaranth, people call it pigweed.
 
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It's good that you have it in that top photo with "regular" red root pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), but your culprit, accounting for ecotype variation is likely Palmer Amaranth, current bane of large scale production agriculture.  It has become resistant to many of the common herbicides used in large-scale ag:  https://phys.org/news/2017-04-mechanisms-herbicide-resistance-palmer-amaranth.html

The ecotype variation on the "paint" pattern is shown in the photos below, as well as comparisons between the inflorescences of the common pigweeds.
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Deb Rebel
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Palmer has made 11' here and I mowed some 7's today into history. Thank you, John Weiland, that last picture is almost priceless. Yep, I'm murdering Palmer and it's EVERYWHERE!!!
 
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Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
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Amazing growth on poor soils, I look at "weeds" and often wonder if we are trying to grow the wrong things!  I know this stuff has been described as the Devil's own weed, but is it edible (potherb, grain)? 

 
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Our garden was filled with these for years, and I finally started leaving a space for them.  We'd harvest loads of leaves, freeze them and eat them all year like spinach.  I've literally had pounds of pigweed.  It's stronger tasting than spinach, so we usually mixed it with a sweet kale or collard for things like the Indian dish, saag, for example.

One year, I decided to try an experiment.  I took some regular pigweed seeds (not the Palmer one), and started them early, then put them in the ground and actually took care of them.  And I also left a freeseeded patch to grow like normal.

The "normal" pigweed did it's thing, and most were about knee to mid thigh high - which was normal for my garden.  I think pigweed are potassium, iron and magnesium accumulators, btw.

The "cultivated" pigweeds, which had been planted much earlier than they could have started on their own outside - those grew 6-7 feet tall. And had leaves bigger than my hands, and I have large hands.

It basically behaved like any cultivated leaf amaranth when treated that way. 

Oh, and we did eventually get the Palmer's one in our garden, too.  It still tasted the same, so I'm not about to demonize it for developing resistance to chemicals that I don't use, nor want exposure to, anyhow. 

Here's a list of dynamic accumulators from Cathe' Fish's website: http://practicalpermaculture.com/handouts/11.%20Dynamic%20accumulators.pdf
 
John Weiland
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Kim Goodwin wrote:  It's stronger tasting than spinach, so we usually mixed it with a sweet kale or collard for things like the Indian dish, saag, for example.

.....Oh, and we did eventually get the Palmer's one in our garden, too.  It still tasted the same, so I'm not about to demonize it for developing resistance to chemicals that I don't use, nor want exposure to, anyhow. 



Yes, the resistance to chemical herbicides likely arose naturally and should not affect the edibility of the plant otherwise.  Pigweed seems to be the "gift that keeps on giving".  Since we don't weed the garden after a certain point, taking care not to weed out lambsquarters and pigweed anyway, the garden become blanketed with the stuff.  We too have used it in Indian 'saag' as other have here....great nutrition and a great way to use it!   Do you use it after it has set flowers/seeds?.....seems quite a bit less palatable then.
 
Kim Goodwin
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Regarding using it after it flowers or sets seed....

Totally agree.  We always picked before it flowers, or just as it is starting to, but not later.  The leaves get tough.  We also like it better than lambsquarters.  Lambsquarters don''t totally agree with me.

I love your "gift that keeps on giving" comment.   Very cute.  It sure it though.  That is one tough plant.  Pigweed and tomatillos are the things that once established in the garden, they just never stopped.  Thankfully they are easy to weed.  Interestingly- in the very early stages those two plants look a lot alike....
 
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Oh my goodness!  I saw this thread a few days back, and just today--by accident when I brushed up against the sharp bracts--realized that the big plant near the rain barrel is this Palmer stuff.  There used to be a bird feeder there, and we have various grains come up there from time to time.  I generally enjoy the novelty and leave them for the birds; however, I don't want this stuff reseeding in my suburban back yard/garden!  I've previously seen it only on crop land.  I cut it down with pruners.

Thanks so much Deb, John, and Kim!
 
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Here on the Philippines they sell this on the market for vegetable soup with or without cococream (I call it cococream because what you buy as coconut milk is made of the presscake/extraction grates, a byproduct in making virgin coconut oil, coco cream is made of fresh unprocessed coconut meat).

When I was renting a room in a subdivision in Cagayan de Oro, the Pigweed grew together with Jute, Guava, Moringa and Sweet Potato on lots without buildings. I collected leaves of the fore mentioned plants frequently to make smoothies together with the water of Young Coconut, Banana, Lemonsito, Ginger, Chili Pepper and other fruits.

The pigweed was not invasive on this place. On my farm 50km inland on around 650m above sea-level, my wife even had to plant it. It was growing to 4'+. As of now it didn't multiply by itself.

I want to plant Amarant on my farm because I have red (in "Die Kulturpflanzen der Tropen und Subtropen" that it grows on poor soil and it accumulates Calcium and Phosphorus. This would then also serve as green Manure for Velvet Bean 'Mucuna bracteata', which can create a 1' layer of organic matter in 3 years, which is then attracting beneficial fungy and microorganisms.
 
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