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celosia

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BOTANICAL NAME
Celosia argentea var. cristata
(Cristata Group)
(se-LO-see-uh ar-JEN-tee-uh, cris-TAH-tuh)
Celosia argentea Plumosa Group
(ploo-MO-suh)
Celosia argentea Spicata Group
(syn. C. spicata)
(spih-KAH-tuh)

COMMON NAMES
Cockscomb, Crested cockscomb
(Cristata Group)
Feathered amaranth, Plume Celosia
(Plumosa Group)
Wheat Celosia, Flamingo feather
(Spicata Group)

DESCRIPTION
Celosia argentea falls into three groups: the Cristata Group, with crests of wrinkly looking knobs; the Plumosa Group, with plumes of featherlike flowers; and the Spicata Group, with spikes or elongated cones. The plants are erect and branching with oval- or lance-shaped, strongly veined leaves that are 2 to 6 inches long. The blossoms are formed with hundreds of tiny flowers packed in dense, brightly colored flower heads that usually stand above the foliage.

COLORS
Celosias’ colors are brilliant, saturated hues that include yellow, gold, orange, salmon, red, rose, deep magenta, pink and cream.

VASE LIFE
Celosias will last from seven to 14 days.

notable variety
‘Jewel Box’ is a favorite variety of cockscomb (Cristata Group) and is available in mixed colors. It also performs well as a dried flower.

availability
Nearly all species and varieties are available from April to November from domestic and international growers.

vase-life extenders
PROCESSING Spray the blossoms with an antitranspirant to help prevent shattering.
REFRIGERATION Store Celosias in a floral cooler at 39 F to 45 F.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Some varieties of Celosia are sensitive to ethylene gas. Check with your supplier to make sure your flowers are treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the grower or transportation level.
WATER Check the water level daily, and add warm flower-food solution as needed. Recut the stems every two or three days to ensure effective water uptake.

quality checklist
BLOOMS Purchase Celosias when the blossoms are half open. Blossoms that are fully open will not last as long and may suffer damage when they are transported. Flowers still in bud may not open at all.
STEMS Watch for any evidence of rotted stems or mold on the flower heads.
FOLIAGE Avoid flowers with bruised or yellowing foliage.

fun facts
WHAT'S IN A NAME The genus name “Celosia” is derived from the Greek word “kelos,” which translates to “burning,” describing the flaming look of Celosias—especially the yellow-, red- and orange-plumed varieties. Crested Celosias, with their small, wavy, fanlike flowers, look like roosters’ combs, leading to the common name “cockscomb.”
FAMILY Celosias are members of the Amaranthaceae family. Relatives include Amaranthus, Gomphrena (globe amaranth) and bloodleaf (Iresine).
HOME SWEET HOME Celosias are native to the tropical and subtropical Americas, Africa and Asia and are considered weeds in their native habitat. They have been cultivated in North America since the 18th century.

Some information provided by:
A. Repetto Nursery, Inc.; Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Botany.com, www.botany.com
Chain of Life Network®, www.chainoflifenetwork.org
Dave’s Garden, davesgarden.com
Floridata, www.floridata.com
Texas Cooperative Extension
Texas A&M University; College Station, Texas, aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu

Reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at sbfloral@aol.com or (415) 239-3140.

Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2008
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.