What is zinnia? Information about zinnia flower care, types, species. What are the zinnia flower facts?
Zinnia; a genus of annual or perennial (subshrubby) plants of the Compositae family consisting of about 15 species, native to North and South America, mainly Mexico. The genus is named for Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759), who was professor of medicine at Gottinggen, Germany. Three species are frequently grown as annuals. Zinnia elegans, of Mexican origin, the species from which the most common garden zinnias have been developed, bears the common name “youth-and-old-age.”
It has stiff hairy stems and opposite leaves which are broad near the base and clasp the stem, tapering, with smooth edges, to a pointed apex. Flower heads are borne at the end of branches. They follow the pattern of having fertile male florets and fertile bisexual disc florets, but the disc is often lacking in cultivated double types. In the latter the florets occur in several overlapping, superimposed series, with several series of bracts crowded together below the flower head.
The color range of available varieties of Zinnia elegans extends from white through light and deep yellow to orange, salmon, scarlet, crimson, rose, magenta, lilac, violet, and purple, and includes some bicolors. Size in this species varies according to type from 2 1/2-foot plants bearing 5- or 6-inch flowers to plants less than a foot high with flowers 2 inches or less in diameter. Particularly in the larger types, there is considerable variation in floret shape, in which curled and quilled forms have been developed.
Zinnia angustifolia is a bushy plant about a foot high, with plentiful yellow or orange heads 1-1 1/2 inches across and available in a double variety. Florets may sometimes be marked with maroon. Zinnia linearis is similar in habit, with flower heads two inches across and golden yellow. Zinnias are easy to grow in a sunny location and deserve their great popularity as garden flowers.