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A review of biological information is provided for three species of the genus Amaranthus: A. albus L., A. blitoides S. Watson and A. blitum L. The last species has been revised taxonomically and a new subspecies for Canada is presented—A. blitum subsp. emarginatus (Moq. ex Uline & Bray) Carretero, Munoz Garmendia & Pedrol. Amaranthus albus and A. blitoides are native to the U.S.A. and introduced to Canada. Both species are annual ruderal and agrestal weeds. During the past 100 yr the two species have spread across most provinces of Canada, but the greatest frequency and abundance have been recorded in Saskatchewan. Originating from Europe, Asia and North Africa, A. blitum was initially considered a non-persistent species. The present study shows that A. blitum especially, subsp. emarginatus, has continued to spread in Québec. The three species are alternate hosts to many insects, nematodes, viruses, bacteria and fungi that affect cultivated plants. In other areas (U.S.A., Europe and Asia), the three species have developed multiple resistance to triazine and acetolactate-synthase-inhibiting herbicides.


This article was originally published in Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 83(4): 1039-1066. © 2003 Agricultural Institute of Canada

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