Status of the Amaranthus Seed Collection

Status of the Amaranthus Seed Collection

The United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Plant Germplasm System’s Amaranthus collection consists of 3,338 accessions, of which 96% are available for distribution and 97% are backed up at the National Center for Germplasm Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado.  

The collection is maintained at the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station (NCRPIS) in Ames, Iowa.  Many types of amaranth are represented including grain, vegetable, ornamental, and wild accessions of 41 of an estimated 70 Amaranthus species.  Species not represented in the collection are primarily wild-growing and native outside of the United States.  Small seed samples are distributed free of charge to support global research and educational objectives where genetic diversity or genetic standards are a requirement.  When the latter are not required, requestors are referred to commercial sources as appropriate; we do not compete with the private sector.  

The Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) database provides both online accesses to information associated with the accessions and a vehicle to request germplasm.  GRIN information includes germplasm origin (provenance), taxonomy, images of plants100 seed weights and other information of value to the user community.  We have begun to use GRIN to organize citations of research publications linked to the accessions used in the research. We continue to seek seeds and information that will develop into a useful collection that is representative of the breadth of genetic diversity and adaptation.

David M. Brenner  Department of Agronomy, Plant Introduction Station Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA