Joseph’s Coat at Monticello

In 1786, Thomas Jefferson  listed in his journals this ‘Three Colored’ Amaranth. Jefferson was a voracious reader and I’m sure he understood the importance of owning this variety. He understood the food qualities which were many;— a nutritional grain–nutritious leaf–and both medicinal and mind altering brewing qualities.

Some say it will be the next main crop in the USA. Some varieties are not useful as a crop. Some varieties of Amaranth can be invasive and are Round Up resistant. They can grow among the cash crop and greatly reduce the yield.

Jefferson knew that the Spanish had forbid Aztecs the right to use this for making ceremonial dolls which were consumed by the natives to bring them super natural powers and immortality. The Catholic priest thought it looked too much like the breaking of bread so they  banned it.

During that time, it could of gone extinct. But it did survive in some rural locations.

Enya sings of Amaranth in her song Amarantine. It means never fading and that love is always love.

From Wiki:

The color amaranth represents immortality in Western culture because the name is derived from the name in Greek mythology of a flower that was believed to never die that grew in the abode of the Greek gods on Mount Olympus. Something that is perceived aseverlasting may be described by the adjective amaranthine.

Amaranth, or Amarant (from the Greek amarantos, unwithering), a name chiefly used in poetry, and applied to Amaranth and other plants which, from not soon fading, typified immortality.

Aesop fables compares the Amaranth to a rose. From Wiki:

Aesop’s Fables (6th century BC) compares the Rose to the Amaranth to illustrate the difference in fleeting and everlasting beauty.

A Rose and an Amaranth blossomed side by side in a garden,
and the Amaranth said to her neighbour,
“How I envy you your beauty and your sweet scent!
No wonder you are such a universal favourite.”
But the Rose replied with a shade of sadness in her voice,
“Ah, my dear friend, I bloom but for a time:
my petals soon wither and fall, and then I die.
But your flowers never fade, even if they are cut;
for they are everlasting.”
You can use the seeds just as you do flower, boil the leaves or fry them, all parts can be used in a mushy soup. The food ideas are endless.
Joseph’s Coat three color Amaranth also refers to Joseph’s multi colored coat from the Bible.
They are mostly annuals and thrive in full sun with regular watering.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Racquel says:

    I’ve been wanting to visit Monticello for sometime, and I live in Virginia too. Shame on me. 😉 Thanks for the info on this great old plant.


  2. Great report. I learned a lot. I didn’t know so much about amaranth, but I do know I like to eat it as an alternative to wheat.~~Dee


  3. It’s a beauty and of course, I identify both with the name “Joseph” and the meaning of the flower “eternal”. I hope they grow here cuz I’d like to try one on a memorial area in our yard.


    1. Karen, they will grow in your area. You can order the seed from the link at Monticello that I provided. They grow quickly. They like regular watering. They are classified as an annual for us. Plant in full sun so they get to that deep color you see. It will be a good focal point for your memorial garden. I’m very happy you saw it here.


  4. Love those colours Anna.


  5. Joey says:

    Great post, Anna. Totally new to me … luv learnin’ and you’re a great teacher!


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