Livid Pigweed

Biological Name:

Livid-Pigweed: Amaranthus lividus

Natural Habitat:

The natural habitat of Livid-Pigweed is likely moist, shaded areas, such as forests and meadows, in temperate regions.


Livid-Pigweed is a herbaceous annual plant that is native to North America. It has small, white or purple flowers and opposite, oval-shaped leaves. It is often found in agricultural fields and is a common weed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is livid amaranth edible?
A: Edibility: The leaves and shoots can be eaten as a vegetable.

Q: Why was amaranth outlawed?
A: In the 16th century the Spanish conquistadors banned the plant’s cultivation, fearing that the spiritual connection with it would stymie the establishment of Catholicism on the continent. But the Incas and Mayans continued to grow amaranth.

Q: Can amaranth be toxic?
A: Avoid eating too much amaranth from agricultural fields. The leaves (like those of spinach, sorrel and many other greens) also contain oxalic acid, which can be poisonous to livestock or to humans with kidney issues of eaten in large amounts.

Q: What is the difference between amaranth and pigweed?
A: It is also known as Palmer pigweed. Palmer amaranth is related to other pigweeds in our region including redroot, smooth, Powell, and spiny, but unlike these other pigweeds, Palmer amaranth grows faster and is dioecious, meaning that plants are either male or female.

Q: What are the side effects of amaranth?
A: Side-Effects & Allergies of Amaranth Grain For people with intolerance to lysinuric protein, eating amaranth may cause diarrhoea and stomach pain. Moreover, another side effect of lysine increase body’s calcium absorption, and bring free, damage-causing amount of calcium in the body.

Q: Can we eat amaranth daily?
A: There are plenty of ways to enjoy amaranth as a part of your daily diet: Boil whole amaranth grain in a 3/1 ratio of water to amaranth to make porridge. Pop dried amaranth like popcorn and eat it as a snack. Put popped amaranth on salads or in soups.

Q: What are the benefits of eating amaranth?
A: Amaranth is a nutritious, gluten-free grain that provides plenty of fiber, protein and micronutrients. It has also been associated with a number of health benefits, including reduced inflammation, lower cholesterol levels and increased weight loss.

Q: Is pigweed poisonous to humans?
A: Yes, the weeds in the garden we call pigweed, including prostrate pigweed, from the amaranth family, are edible. Every part of the plant can be eaten, but the young leaves and growing tips on older plants are the tastiest and most tender. The seeds are nutritious, edible, and are not difficult to harvest.

Q: Should I remove pigweed?
A: If you spot pigweed plants that have yet to produce mature seeds, pull them or cut them off just below the soil line. Plants with mature seeds should be bagged before being removed and destroyed. Either burn the plants or bury them under at least a foot of compost.

Q: What is pigweed good for?
A: The leaves of pigweed are also incredibly nutritious. They’re high in vitamins A and C and folate, as well as calcium. In Jamaica, pigweed is known as callaloo and is a culinary staple.

Q: What part of pigweed is poisonous?
A: Pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) is a common annual weed found throughout the United States. The weed can grow three to four feet; the flowers are green and prickly and the plant has oval shaped leaves. The pigweed’s leaves, roots and stems are toxic.

Q: Should you pull pigweed?
A: If pigweeds are in the advanced reproductive stage and might drop viable seed when handled, carefully bagging plants is even more important, Farr and others say. Guy Collins, cotton Extension associate professor at North Carolina State University, also advocates hand pulling.

Q: Is pigweed toxic to dogs?
A: Amaranth greens, sometimes called pigweed, are toxic for dogs because of oxalates and nitrates that are present in the vegetable. If consumed, oxalates and nitrates can cause kidney failure in dogs.

Q: What is another name for pigweed?
A: Amaranthus retroflexus is a species of flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae with several common names, including red-root amaranth, redroot pigweed, red-rooted pigweed, common amaranth, pigweed amaranth, and common tumbleweed.

Q: Why is pigweed so difficult to control?
A: The researchers have determined a specific genetic feature, the extrachromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA) replicon, gives pigweed, or glyphosate resistant palmer amaranth, its resistance to glyphosate and makes this weed difficult to control.

Q: What does pigweed tell you about your soil?
A: Redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) indicates that the soil is heavily compacted by either heavy foot traffic or just high clay content. Compaction is a sign of low aeration, meaning lower oxygen for roots, soil microbes, water logging and undeveloped root system.

Q: Why do they call it pigweed?
A: Their common name, pigweed, may have comes from its use as fodder for pigs. Pigweed plants are commonly considered to be weeds by farmers and gardeners because they thrive in disturbed soils.

Q: What states does pigweed grow?
A: Redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) Redroot pigweed, a summer annual broadleaf plant, is found up to 7900 feet (2400 m) in the Central Valley, northwestern region, central-western region, southwestern region, Modoc Plateau, and most likely in other California areas.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.