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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 205. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/4/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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1. Celosia argentea L.

Pl. 199 e; Map 825

Plants annual (perennial herbs or shrubs elsewhere), glabrous. Stems 30–120 cm long, erect or ascending, green to yellowish white or reddish purple, often with pink to purple longitudinal lines or ridges. Leaves alternate, short- to long-petiolate. Leaf blades 3–15 cm long, herbaceous, narrowly lanceolate to elliptic-ovate, narrowed to less commonly rounded at the base, narrowed or tapered to a sharply pointed tip, the margins entire or nearly so. Inflorescences terminal and sometimes also axillary, dense spikes, these sometimes grouped into panicles, the main axis sometimes broadened and flattened (fasciated) with flowers across the surface. Bracts similar to the sepals in size and shape. Flowers perfect. Sepals 5, free, all similar in size and shape, 6–8 mm long, oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate, tapered to a sharply pointed but unawned tip, papery or scalelike, silvery white, yellow, pink, red, or purple. Stamens 5, the filaments fused toward the base. Ovary narrowly ovoid to nearly globose. Ovules 2 to several. Style well developed, persistent, the 2 or 3 stigmas capitate. Fruits mostly with papery walls, the main body 2.5–4.0 mm long, ovoid to globose, tapered to a single beak, the dehiscence usually circumscissile at about the midpoint, 2–6-seeded. Seeds 1.0–1.5 mm long, somewhat flattened, circular or nearly so in outline, rounded to bluntly angled along the rim, the surface reddish brown to black, shiny. 2n=36, 72. July–October.

Introduced, uncommon and sporadic in Missouri (native distribution not known, widely but sporadically escaping from cultivation in the U.S.). Banks of streams and rivers; also railroads and open, disturbed areas.

Celosia argentea has an extremely long history of cultivation as an ornamental, and its natural range had already become obscured by the presence of widespread weedy escapes by the time that botanists became interested in the species’ wild origin. Today, plants are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of both the Old World and the New World. Numerous cultivars have been developed for horticultural uses, and plants are quite variable in size, color, and inflorescence patterns. In Missouri, it is doubtful whether populations persist for very long after becoming established outside cultivation.


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1 1. Inflorescences spikes, these sometimes grouped into small panicles, the flowers attached to a more or less tubular, stemlike axis ... 1A. VAR. ARGENTEA

Celosia argentea L. var. argentea
2 1. Inflorescences fasciated, the main axis flattened and broaded into an irregular fan-shaped structure with flowers along the surface ... 1B. VAR. CRISTATA Celosia argentea var. cristata


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