Amaranthus thunbergii Moq.

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Amaranthus thunbergii

Photo: Bart Wursten
Shashe Wilderness Camp, Shashe River

Amaranthus thunbergii

Photo: Bart Wursten
Shashe Wilderness Camp, Shashe River

Amaranthus thunbergii

Photo: Bart Wursten
Shashe Wilderness Camp, Shashe River

Amaranthus thunbergii

Photo: Bart Wursten
Along road to Mahenye, Ndowoyo CL.

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Common names: Bonongwe (Shona) Imbuya (Ndebele) Mbowa (Shona) Mowa (Shona) Poor man's spinach (English) Teka (Hlengwe) Umbhida (Ndebele)
Status: Native
Ascending or erect annual herb, up to c. 55 cm high. Stems simple or branched, angular, almost hairless below but usually with long multicellular hairs towards the top. Leaves more or less narrowly elliptic, rhomboid or spathulate, up to 4.5 × 3 cm, almost hairless or thinly hairy below; base often decurrent along the petiole. Flowers greenish in short axillary clusters, unisexual. Capsule ovoid-ellipsoid, 2.5-3.5 mm long, with a short beak.
Derivation of specific name: thunbergii: named after Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828)
Habitat: A weed in waste places, disturbed, cultivated or overgrazed areas, often near rivers or pans, usually in sandy or loamy soils.
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 1400 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: From Ethiopia and Somalia to DRC and Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Wednesday 5 August 2009

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 20.

Kirby, G. (2013). Wild Flowers of Southeast Botswana Struik Nature, Cape Town South Africa Page 344. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 16.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 21.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 195.

Townsend, C.C. (1988). Amaranthaceae Flora Zambesiaca 9(1) Pages 48 - 53. (Includes a picture).

Wild, H. (1955). Common Rhodesian Weeds Government of Rhodesia, Salisbury Page 29. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Amaranthus thunbergii:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Amaranthus thunbergii
Flora of Caprivi: Amaranthus thunbergii
Flora of Malawi: Amaranthus thunbergii
Flora of Mozambique: Amaranthus thunbergii
Flora of Zambia: Amaranthus thunbergii

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Amaranthus thunbergii
African Plant Database: Amaranthus thunbergii
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Amaranthus thunbergii
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Amaranthus thunbergii
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Amaranthus thunbergii
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Amaranthus thunbergii
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Amaranthus thunbergii
JSTOR Plant Science: Amaranthus thunbergii
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Amaranthus thunbergii
Plants of the World Online: Amaranthus thunbergii
Tropicos: Amaranthus thunbergii
Wikipedia: Amaranthus thunbergii

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Amaranthus thunbergii., retrieved 20 May 2024

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