Amaranth cruentus is a tall plant with wide green foliage and brilliant plumes of purple, red or golden-yellow flowers.

Its common name comes from the Greek word “amarantos” meaning one that does not wither or never fade. The bushy flowers do indeed retain their vibrant color even after harvesting and as a plant, can withstand a variety of conditions including low-water needs once established.

The Aztecs grew amaranth for its grain 8,000 years ago and its cultivation has spread from Peru and Mexico to Africa, Nepal, China, India, Russia, Nigeria, Thailand, and parts of the U.S. such as Iowa, Nebraska, and New York.

Considered a powerhouse of nutritional goodness, amaranth grain contains 13-14% protein, three times the average amount of calcium, and is also high in iron, phosphorous, and potassium.