Amaranthus albus L.

Stiff Tumbleweed

Syst. Nat., edn 10, 2: 1268 (1759) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Variable, decumbent to erect annual to c. 80 cm high (commonly detaching near ground level at maturity and dispersing as a tumbleweed). Stems whitish (often turning red at maturity), glabrous or glabrescent. Leaves shortly petiolate to subsessile, ovate to obovate, lamina 5–20(–50) mm long, 2–10(–20) mm wide; margin often undulate; apex usually shortly mucronate. Flowers in axillary cymose clusters c. 5 mm long, unisexual; bracts c. 3 mm long; bracteoles c. 2 mm long, spinescent; tepals 3, oblong to spathulate, 1–2 mm long, acute; stamens 3. Utricle circumsciss (rarely indehiscent), slightly exceeding perianth, abruptly tapered toward apex, finely wrinkled or blistered; seed biconvex, brown, shiny, c. 1 mm diam. Flowers mainly Jan.–Apr.

*CVU, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Gold, *HNF, *HSF, *MuF, *MuM, *NIS, *OtP, *VRiv, *VVP, *Wim. Also naturalised WA, SA, NSW. Native to southern North America. A common weed of streambanks, roadsides, railway-lines (common in Melbourne), and waste ground, chiefly in warmer parts of the State, but sometimes coastal or fringing salt lakes in the south (e.g. French Is., Port Phillip, Lake Corangamite).

Very rarely, the ripe utricles are indehiscent (noted in specimens from Barmah Forest and Springhurst), but plants exhibiting this abnormal feature are otherwise quite typical.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1996). Amaranthaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-10-01
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Caryophyllanae
family Amaranthaceae
genus Amaranthus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Amaranthus albus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Amaranthus albus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory