FZ volume:9 part:1 (1988) Amaranthaceae by C. C. Townsend
A large and predominantly tropical family of some 65 genera and over 1000 species, including several cosmopolitan weeds and a large number of xerophytic plants; some are locally important vegetable or grain crops, and some are grown as decoratives.
Annual or perennial herbs or shrubs, rarely trees or lianes. Leaves simple, alternate or opposite, exstipulate, entire or nearly so. Inflorescence a dense head, loose or dense and spike-like thyrse, spike, raceme or panicle, basically cymose, bracteate; bracts hyaline to membranous, stramineous to white, subtending one or more flowers. Flowers hermaphrodite or unisexual (plants dioecious or monoecious), mostly actinomorphic, usually bibracteolate, frequently in ultimate 3-flowered cymules; lateral flowers of such cymules sometimes sterile, modified into scales, spines, hooks or hairs. Perianth uniseriate, membranous to firm and finally indurate, usually falling with the ripe fruit included, tepals free or more or less fused below, frequently more or less pilose or lanate, green to white or variously coloured. Stamens isomerous with and opposite the tepals, rarely fewer; filaments free or frequently more or less fused below, sometimes almost completely fused and 5-toothed at the apex with entire or deeply lobed teeth, occasionally some anantherous, alternating with variously shaped pseudostaminodes or not; anthers unilocular or bilocular. Ovary superior, unilocular; ovules commonly solitary, sometimes more numerous, erect to pendulous, placentation basal; style obsolete to long and slender; stigmas capitate to long and filiform. Fruit an irregularly rupturing or circumcissile capsule, rarely a berry or crustaceous, usually with rather thin, membranous walls; seeds round to lenticular or ovoid, embryo curved or circular, surrounding the more or less copious endosperm.