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Amaranthus tricolor - Joseph's Coat

Joseph's Coat

Scientific Name: Amaranthus tricolor

Common Name: Joseph's Coat

In a 1786 list of seeds sent from Paris, Thomas Jefferson mentioned several amaranths, including the "three-colored Amaranth."1 This popular annual is one of the most dramatic flowers in the summer display at Monticello. The pan-tropical genus is native across Asia and South America. Most species were introduced from the East Indies to Britain around 1600 and several species were common in early American gardens, including Joseph's Coat, Love-lies-bleeding, and Prince's Feather.2 John Lawson makes reference to this plant in his book, A New Voyage to Carolina (1709).3

Many are large, showy, voluptuous plants with colorful foliage and floral parts. It is a summer flowering annual, and its multi-colored foliage varies from green, bronze, or purple to brilliant maroon or crimson, which often suffuses with yellow and rose-pink.

- Peggy Cornett, n.d.

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