E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Clement of Alexandria saysAmarantus flos, symbolum est immortalitatis. The word is from the Greek amarantos (everlasting). So called because its flowers never fade like other flowers, but retain to the last much of their deep blood-red colour.
Immortal amaranta flower which once
In Paradise, fast by the tree of life,
Began to bloom; but soon, for mans offence,
To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows
And flowers aloft, shading the found of life .
With these, that never fade, the spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks.
Milton: Paradise Lost iii. 35361.
In 1653 Christina, Queen of Sweden, instituted the Order of the Knights of the Amaranth, but it ceased to exist at the death of the Queen. Among the ancients it was the symbol of immortality.
The best known species are Love lies bleeding (amarantus caudtus), and Princes feather (amarantus hypochondriacus). Cocks comb is now ranked under the genus Celosia.