[From a Greek word, signifying burnt, because the flowers of some of. the species appear as if they were singed.]
Celosia cristata. - Cocks-comb. - Is a well-known tender annua], of which there are many varieties, as in the balsam, and which, like that plant, will attain a large size, and singular beauty by repeated shiftings. Thunberg states that in Japan the flowers or crests are frequently a foot in length or breadth. The following account is inserted, to give some idea of what may be done by artificial means. "Mr. Knight, in October, 1820, sent to the London Horticultural Society a Cocks-comb, the flower of which measured eighteen inches in width and seven in height, from the top of the stalk; it was thick and full, and of a most intense purple-red. To produce this, the great object was to retard the protusion of the flower-stalk, that it might become of great strength. The compost employed was of the most nutritive and stimulating kind, consisting of one part of unfermented horse-dung, fresh from the stable, and without Utter, one part of burnt turf, one part of decayed leaves, and two parts of green turf, the latter being in lumps of about an inch in diameter, in order to keep the mass so hollow that the water might escape and the air enter. The seeds were sown in the spring, rather late, and the plants put first into pots of four inches diameter, and then transplanted to others a foot in diameter; the object being not to compress the roots, as that has a tendency to accelerate the flowering of all vegetables. The plants were placed within a few inches of the glass, in a heat of from 70° to 100°; they were watered with pigeon-dung water, and due attention paid to remove the side branches when very young, so as to produce one strong head or flower."
The color of the scarlet varieties is highly brilliant. None of the other colors are so rich. The yellows are generally rather dull - some of them dirty-looking. The scarlets and crimsons are the only colors that look well. There are the tall and dwarf varieties, and some that are somewhat branching; but these last should be rejected. To produce fine combs, the soil cannot be made too rich; the plants must also be forwarded in a hot-bed. Very showy plants can be raised by sowing in the open ground the middle of May, but they cannot be raised in perfection. The appellation, Cocks-comb, was given it from the form of its crested head of flowers, resembling the comb of a cock. Sometimes the heads are divided like a plume of feathers.
[It is said that with this plant, the Centaur Chiron cured the wound in his foot, made by the arrow of Hercules.]
Centaurea cyanus, is a popular border hardy annual. It is known by the common name of Blue-bottle. In Europe it is a common weed, in cornfields and on gravely soils, having blue flowers; but when cultivated, it sports into varieties of white, purple, pink, parti-colored, etc., and is a handsome flower.
Is a handsome hardy annual, discovered by Nuttall, or the alluvial soil of the Arkansas and Red rivers. It has, large purplish-lilac flowers, somewhat resembling a large thistle; it grows two or three feet high, flowering in August and September. It is of easy culture, and should be sown the first of May.
C. Moschata, varieties pupurea and alba are handsome border annuals of easy culture, natives of Persia, two feet high, with fragrant flowers; from July to October. It is commonly known by the name of Sweet Sultan.
A handsome annual from the Levant, one and one-half foot high, with lively rich yellow flowers; from July to September. Time of sowing and culture, the same as the others. G. Cen-taurium, Montana, splendens, and others, are among the most ornamental of the perennials. The genus is a very extensive one, embracing more than one hundred species, including many thistle-like, weedy-looking plants.
[From Greek words, signifying a spur and a flower, in allusion to the shape of the corolla.]
This genus comprises several handsome border annuals, with flowers arranged in corymbs, which are either red, rose, or white. Centranthus macrosiphon has varieties with all these colors, about one foot high. There are also dwarf varieties of the same colors.
[So called from the Arabic name of a plant with red, sweet-scented flowers.]
Cheiranthus Cheiri. - Wall Flower. - This is a well-known plant, which, were it perfectly hardy, would be more highly esteemed. It is a native of Britain, where it is hardy; here it is half-hardy, and must be preserved through the winter in the green-house or in a frame. Sometimes it can be kept through our winters in favorable situations with some protection. It grows one and one-half foot high, with various colored flowers in its different varieties. Yellow and orange predominate, but these colors are more or less shaded with rich brownish-red or violet. There are also varieties of all these colors with double flowers, which are rich and handsome. It is raised from seed; the plants flowering the spring following.