Chenopod and Amaranth Pollen: Electron-Microscopic Identification

Science  07 Jul 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3784, pp. 80-82
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3784.80


Electron-microscopic criteria for distinguishing chenopod and amaranth pollen have been found in the number of minute holes and spinules, and especially in the ratio between them, which is 〈 1.5 in amaranths and 〉 1.6 in chenopods. Sixty-eight percent of total fossil pollen from a Classic Maya level (carbon-14 age 1380 ± 120 B.P.) in a lake-sediment core from El Salvador belongs to wild amaranths, which presumably invaded corn fields. Fossil chenopodiaceous pollen from a depth of 3.85 meters (about 4000 years old) at Tinte, the Netherlands, is mostly Atriplex littoralis, which was evidently very common on coastal marshes in the middle sub-Boreal period.