Plant ID forum: Help identify this tiny red-leaved plant (with only the cotyledons so far)

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May 4, 2016 5:34 PM CST
I dug up a new flower bed two weeks ago here near Boston, and sowed flower seed from a packet of mixed flower varieties. Things are starting to germinate which I recognize as species from the flower blend, but a lot of these fellows (photos below) are also coming up. I have a sneaking suspicion they're not part of the mix and that it's in fact a weed, possibly something I can't yet recognize since only the cotyledons are present for now. These seedlings are VERY tiny, about 3/16" from edge to edge -- they look larger in the photos because I magnified them so I could get a better look. I suspect they're about 5-7 days old. I'm struck by their copper-red color. Any thoughts as to what plant this might be? I'm sure I'll know more once the real leaves develop.

Thumb of 2016-05-04/SF2Bos/6c885d
I'm not entirely positive the seedling with the larger leaves (real leaves) (below) is the same plant, but I think it is.
Thumb of 2016-05-04/SF2Bos/5e9852
Thumb of 2016-05-04/SF2Bos/231cd4

[Last edited by SF2Bos - May 4, 2016 8:20 PM (+)]
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Name: Reid
North Branch, MN (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
May 4, 2016 7:58 PM CST
Some type of tree seedling I think.


May 4, 2016 8:19 PM CST
Interesting thought. Looking at these extremely tiny seedlings (3/16" from tip to tip; they just look bigger in the photo because I blew them up) I would never think of them tree seedlings, but I guess even trees start out small. I have a feeling that these come from very small seeds. Don't know.
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
May 4, 2016 11:33 PM CST
Hi @SF2Bos Welcome!

Taking into account the probable size, I would lean toward the Amaranths. There are a number of species in that genus. Weeds are a possibility, but there are also some other possibilities.

could be something like pigweed ' Amaranthus retroflexus a rude weed Smiling

Amaranths also include ornamental and edible plants

Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
May 5, 2016 7:33 AM CST
They also reminded me of amaranthus
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
May 5, 2016 1:43 PM CST
#3 isn't the same type of plant. It looks like a purslane.

May 5, 2016 6:45 PM CST
THANK YOU! Yes, Amaranth: I have a feeling we're going in the right direction with that. I browsed around the web and couldn't quite find any amaranths seedlings with such distinctly red cotyledons, but it does seem that once the first true leaves appear on many Amaranthus species, they do have a strong reddish tinge around the periphery.

I wonder what environmental conditions encourage cotyledons that could take on either a green or reddish cast to take on that purple-red color.

Here in eastern Massachusetts we've had so much rain and drizzle and no sun since Saturday that hardly any of the seedlings in this garden have budged much in size.

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