Cultural and weedy species of the Amaranthus genus, described by Linnaeus in 1753, originated in North and South America. However, the name amaranth existed in Europe long before its unification with plants of the kind described by Linnaeus. Almost two thousand years ago, the ancient Greeks and Romans called several species of other hardy plants “amaranth”. The most common among them is celosia silvery, or cockscomb scallop (Celosia argentea) and plants of the genus Cmin (Helychrisum spp.). And the North American species of amaranth were allegedly brought to Europe in the 16th century, when the Spaniards conquered the New World. After that, they were described by Linnaeus, who transferred the name “amaranth” to this genus.
The Aztecs called amaranth “huautli”.
The very word “amaranth” was formed from the Greek ἀμάραντος (Amaranth) – imperishable, unfading, and also ἄνθος (Anthos) – flower.
Over time, the word “amaranth” acquired many meanings and was used not only in botany, but also in ethnobotany, religion, literature and philosophy.
Amaranth names in different languages
Amaranth at home – in Peru Complement the generally accepted “amaranth” and botanical “Amaranthus”, in almost every country and in every language there are their own particular names for this plant. Most of them do not even have a translation into other languages. Some of these names designate specific species, others apply to all plants of the genus Amaranth.
- English: African, Indian, or Chinese spinach (African, Indian or Chinese spinach), tampala, bledo, pigweed (mar), bush greens (bush green), green leaf (green leaf).
- French: calalou, callalou.
- Spanish: bledo (Central America).
- Afrikaans: kalkoenslurp, misbredie, hanekam, varkbossie.
- West Africa: boroboro (full language), alayyafu (house language).
East Africa: imbuya, thepe (Tswana language), umfino, umtyuthu, unomdlomboyi (spit language), imbuya, isheke (Zulu).
- Ghana: efan, muotsu, madze, swie.
- Congo: bitekuteku (Amaranthus viridis, Kinshasa province).
- Nigeria: efo, tete, inene.
- Sierra Leone: grins (Creole), hondi (Mende language), ka-bonthin (darker language).
- Philippines: kulitis (Ilonggo), uray (Tagalog).
- Indonesia: bayam itik, bayam Menir (island of Java), bayam Kotok (island of Sumatra).
- Thailand: pak-kom.
- India: Ranga sak, rajeera, lal sak, ramdana, lal sag.
- China: hiyu, yin choy, hin choy, een choy, hon-toi-moi, tsai.
- Malaysia: bayam puteh, bayarn merah.
- Jamaica: callaloo.
- Caribbean: callaloo, callaloo, kallaloo.
- Peru: kiwicha, quihuicha.
- Mexico: alegria (joy).
- Bulgaria: schir, a lot of loboda.
- Poland: szarłat.
- Germany: fuchsschwanz (foxtail).
- Belarus: aksamіtnіk, zyalbornik, padburachnik.
- Ukraine: shchiritsya, sharitsya.
- Russia: the most common name is “schiritsa”. There are also: marshmallow, cockerel scallops, axamitnik, cat or fox tail.