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Amaranthus caudatus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
120 centimetres tall
Gardens, wasteland.

Red, no petals
The dark red flowers are long and tassel-like, hanging downwards and tapering to a point. Wind pollinated.
The fruit is a capsule whose seeds ripen in August and September.
A bushy annual or short-lived perennial flower with oval, pointed, stalked leaves. The leaves are alternate along their branches. Garden escape species but seldom escapes in the UK.
Other Names:
Careless, Cat Tail, Chenile Plant, Floramor, Foxtail Amaranth, Inca Wheat, Lady's Riding Whip, Pendant Amaranth, Quilete, Tassel Flower, Teasel Flower, Thrumwort, Tumbleweed, Velvet Flower.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Amaranthus caudatus, also known as love-lies-bleeding or tassel flower, is an annual flowering plant that is native to Central and South America. It is known for its striking, elongated, drooping clusters of small, red, pink, or purple flowers that bloom in the summer and fall. The plant can grow up to 2-3 meters in height. The seeds and leaves of the plant are edible and can be used in cooking, particularly in some traditional dishes in South America and Africa. The plant is easy to grow and is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens, it is also grown as a vegetable crop in some regions. It is not considered an invasive species, but it can be considered as a weed in some places.


Love-lies-bleeding, also known as Amaranthus caudatus, is a striking plant with long, drooping clusters of deep red, burgundy or purple flowers. This ornamental plant is native to South America but has now spread across the world, primarily for its aesthetic appeal. Love-lies-bleeding belongs to the Amaranthaceae family and is related to other popular plants such as spinach and quinoa.

The name "Love-lies-bleeding" is derived from the plant's Latin name, Amaranthus, which means "unfading," and the long, pendulous flowers that resemble blood droplets. The plant has several other common names, including tassel flower, velvet flower, and foxtail amaranth. In ancient times, it was known as the "flower of immortality" due to its long-lasting flowers and believed to have magical powers.

Love-lies-bleeding is an annual plant that can grow up to 4 feet tall and thrives in full sun with well-draining soil. It is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow, making it a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers. It blooms from late spring to early fall and attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Apart from its ornamental value, Love-lies-bleeding has several other uses. In some cultures, the plant's seeds are used as a traditional food source, and its leaves are used for medicinal purposes. The seeds are rich in protein and are often ground into a flour to make a nutritious porridge or bread. The leaves are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and have been used to treat conditions such as eczema and burns.

In Hindu mythology, Love-lies-bleeding is associated with the goddess Kali, who is often depicted wearing a garland made of the plant's flowers. In Christian tradition, the plant is associated with the blood of Christ and is used as a symbol of the Passion. It has also been used in various religious ceremonies and rituals.

Love-lies-bleeding has also been used in art and literature, particularly in the Baroque period, where it was a popular motif in still life paintings. The plant's distinctive shape and vibrant color made it a popular subject for artists, who used it to convey themes of mortality, passion, and spiritual devotion.

In contemporary culture, Love-lies-bleeding has also found its way into popular music. The band Toto has a song called "Love Has the Power (To Heal the World)" which includes the line "Love lies bleeding on the floor" as a metaphor for the pain and suffering caused by conflict and war.

Love-lies-bleeding is a fascinating plant with a rich history and cultural significance. Its beauty and versatility have made it a popular choice for gardens, art, literature, and music throughout the ages. Whether you are a gardener, artist, or music lover, Love-lies-bleeding is a plant that is sure to capture your imagination and inspire you in new and unexpected ways.

Love-lies-bleeding has also been associated with various symbolic meanings throughout history. In ancient Greece, it was believed that the plant's long, trailing flowers symbolized the tears of the goddess Venus, making it a symbol of love and loss. In the language of flowers, Love-lies-bleeding is associated with deep, passionate love and is often given as a gift to express intense emotions.

In addition to its ornamental and cultural uses, Love-lies-bleeding is also valued for its ecological benefits. As a pollinator-attracting plant, it helps to support the health and diversity of local ecosystems. The plant's deep root system also makes it a valuable addition to soil conservation efforts, as it helps to prevent erosion and improve soil structure.

Despite its many uses and benefits, Love-lies-bleeding is also considered an invasive species in some areas. Invasive populations can compete with native plants for resources and disrupt local ecosystems, making it important for gardeners and landscapers to plant responsibly and be aware of the potential risks associated with introducing non-native species.

Love-lies-bleeding has also been used in traditional medicine. In ancient Aztec culture, the plant was used to treat various ailments, including digestive issues, skin conditions, and fever. The seeds were believed to have diuretic properties and were used to treat kidney and bladder problems. In Chinese medicine, Love-lies-bleeding was used to treat sore throat, cough, and other respiratory issues.

Modern research has confirmed many of the plant's traditional uses, and Love-lies-bleeding has been found to contain various beneficial compounds, including saponins, flavonoids, and alkaloids. These compounds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties, making Love-lies-bleeding a promising candidate for further study in the field of natural medicine.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Love-lies-bleeding has also been used as a natural dye. The plant's deep red flowers can be used to create a range of shades, from pale pink to dark burgundy, and have been used to dye textiles and other materials.

Love-lies-bleeding is a fascinating plant with a long and storied history. From its cultural and religious significance to its ecological and medicinal benefits, it is a plant that continues to capture our imagination and inspire new ideas and perspectives. Whether you are a gardener, artist, or natural health enthusiast, Love-lies-bleeding is a plant that is well worth exploring further.