November 22, 2017

Garden-variety Romance

Amaranthus caudatus - Love-lies-bleeding

Janine Pineo Photo | Amaranthus caudatus – Love-lies-bleeding

Amaranthus caudatus goes by the vivid common moniker of love-lies-bleeding for obvious reasons. The less obvious one arises from the Middle Ages, when the plant was used medicinally to stem bleeding. The deep red inflorescences (flower clusters) of love-lies-bleeding make a dramatic sight in the garden, drooping from the plant, growing easily more than a foot in length and sometimes twice that. It is a particularly easy plant to grow from seed, although it should be started indoors here in Maine to achieve the most striking flowers. The flowers can be dried and will retain their color quite well for dried flower arrangements. And if all that wasn’t enough, amaranthus is also an important cereal, specifically in the Andes where it is considered an ancient plant. NASA even uses it to feed the astronauts.