Pigmy Torch is a dwarf amaranth, growing to 1m in height, with bright purple red spikes of flowers.
Often cultivated, especially in tropical areas, for its edible leaves and seeds. This is the most robust and highest yielding of the grain amaranths, though it is late maturing and therefore less suitable for northern areas.
Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position. Requires a hot sheltered position if it is to do well.
Sow late spring in situ. An earlier sowing can be made in a greenhouse and the plants put out after the last expected frosts. Germination is usually rapid and good if the soil is warm. A drop in temperature overnight aids germination.
Seed - raw or cooked. They can be used as a cereal substitute. They can also be popped in much the same way as popcorn. The seed can be soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then allowed to sprout for about 11 days. They can then be added to salads. Very small but the seed is easy to harvest and very nutritious. The seed can be cooked whole, and becomes very gelatinous like this, but it is rather difficult to crush all of the small seeds in the mouth and thus some of the seed will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated.