AMARANTHUS 'POINTY FINGERS'
This bizarre and slightly goofy annual flower bears congested sprays of deep purple flowers which resemble pointing fingers! Although it is native to South America, in India and Africa the leaves and stems have been eaten as a salad vegetable. It is usually steamed as a side dish in both China and Japan. Scientific study suggests that it may inhibit calcium retention, and in addition it has a high content of carotene, ascorbic acid, and folate and may prove an efficient antioxidant. It also appears on the coat of arms of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where it is called "flowers gentle"!
For best results, seeds are sown directly into the ground where required in the spring. Alternatively, sow in late winter/early spring in gentle warmth, 15-20 degrees C. Prick out into small 3 inch or 7 cm. pots and plant in final position when the plants are established.
Common name:Amaranthus gangeticus, Tandaljo, Tandalja bhaji, callaloo, Joseph's coat, Elephant-head amaranth.
Classification:Half hardy annual