'AMARANTHUS POLYGONOIDES' SAME FAMILY OF 'AMARANTHACEAE'

 ABOUT 'AMARANTHUS POLYGONOIDES' PLANT 


Amaranthus polygonoides

FAMILY:- AMARANTHACEAE

BOTANICAL NAME:- Amaranthus polygonoides

VERNACULAR NAMES :

SINHALA : Walu tampala  
TAMIL : Araikkirai, Punniyaku


DESCRIPTION :

A prostrate, glabrous herb with many spreading branches.

LEAVES:- Small, 0.7-1.5 cm long, 0.5-1 cm broad.

FLOWERS:- Regular, small, unisexual, monoecious 2 mm long, numerous in axillary clusters, bracts subulate, sharply acuminate. Flowers all the year round.

FRUIT:- A membranous, urceolate, indehiscent capsule, 1.5 mm long, 1.2 mm broad. Seed lenticular, 1 mm diameter, dark brown with raised border (Jayaweera, 1981).

DISTRIBUTION :

Widespread in the warmer temperate regions and tropics. Grows throughout India and Sri Lanka and in all tropical countries. In Sri Lanka, it is a common weed growing in dry waste places and roadsides in the dry zone. (Dassanayake and Fosberg, 1980).

EDIBLE PARTS AND FOOD USE:

Tender leaves are eaten as green vegetables.
NUTRITIONAL AND THERAPEUTIC VALUE :
Moisture - 90.0 g, Energy - 33 kcal, Protein - 2.8 g, Fat 0.3 g, Carbohydrates 4.8 g, Calcium -251 mg, Phosphorus - 40 mg, Iron - 27.3 mg.
The seed contains carbohydrate and protein. The plant is used as a diuretic for strangury. It is given for scrofula and applied topically to scrofulous sores. It is also said to be useful for piles and purifies blood. The extract of the leaves relieves pains and congestion in the chest. 

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE:
 

Soil with a high organic content, with adequate mineral reserves and required for optimum yield. Optimum pH range is 5.5-7.5 but some cultivars will tolerate more alkaline conditions. Although it is tolerant to high temperatures, optimum is 23-30°C, lowland areas up to 800m altitude are more suitable for cultivation.
 

CULTIVATION :
 

Walu tampala can be grown in home gardens or on small plots using labour-intensive practices. It may be sown direct or transplanted. It requires finely prepared soil so that small seeds can be firmly packed with good soil contact for optimum water absorption.
 

Spacing /Seed rate - The very small seeds are mixed with dry sand to ensure uniform distribution. They are sown broadcast on to prepared beds at a rate of 1.5-2 kg/ha.
 

Irrigation - Increases yield but uneconomic. It is normally grown as a rainfed crop.
 

Fertilizer - It responds well to fertilizers with a high Potassium content.
Time to harvest - First harvest may be taken at 2 weeks, but true harvesting starts 30-50 days from sowing, when plants are 15-20 cm high.
 

Harvesting- Either whole plant is uprooted when it is are about 20 cm high, in 3-4 weeks after transplanting, or established plants are cut above the bottom two leaves, which encourages growth of side shoots.
 

Yield - Entire plant harvested- 20-25 t/ha; shoots only (successional harvesting)- 30-60 t/ha.
 

STORAGE:
 

In wet places the green harvest can be stored for 2-4 days.