As described on the Habitat page, this plant is considered an invasive species and can grow under many conditions, therefore there must be some adaptations that allow Chenopodium ambrosioides to reside in so many habitats world-wide. In factm, there are a few things that give this plant a competitive edge.

Being a member of the order Charyophyllales gives this plant a few unique adaptations. Most Caryophyllales are C4 plants. This means they utilize a special photosynthetic pathway which allows them to competitively grow in stressful conditions like saline, dry, and hot environments. C4 plants grow better because they photosynthesize faster than C3 plants under high light intensity and high temperatures. They are able to photosynthesize faster because they utilize an enzyme which allows for quicker uptake of carbon dioxide and in turn speeds up the entire process of photosynthesis leading to faster sugar production. C4 plants also have better water use efficiency since the carbon dioxide is brought into the plant so quickly that the stomata do not need to be open as long and therefore the plant loses less water through evaporation while they are open. This could easily explain why this plant is able to grow so well in so many places around the world, especially hot environments with a lot of sun exposure. Just a reminder, photosynthesis is the pathway plants use to convert light energy to usable sugars for the plant. See Nutrition for more detail.

Another unique quality of the order Caryophyllales is the presence of red betalain pigments rather anthocyanin which is the pigment most all other plant species posses. At this point this seems to just be an unusual characteristic of the Caryophyllales order and more research needs to be done into whether or not these special pigments benefit the plant in any way. Notice the purplish coloration of the stem in the picture to the right, this coloring is due to the red betalain pigments.

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