This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, kelos, burned; referring to the burned look of the flowers in some species). Amaran-tacese. Cockscomb. Popular garden annuals, grown for the showy agglomerated flower-heads and sometimes for colored foliage.
Alternate-leaved annual herbs, the leaves entire or sometimes lobed, mostly narrow: flowers in dense terminal and axillary spikes, the spikes in cult, forms becoming densely fascicled and often the stems much fasciated; perianth very small, 5-parted, dry, the segments oblong or lanceolate, erect in fruit; stamens 5, the filaments united at base: fruit a circumscissile utricle, with 2 to many seeds. - About 35 species, all tropical, in Asia, Africa and Amer.
There are two main types of celosias, the crested form and the feathered or plumy ones. The crested cockscomb is very stiff, formal and curious, while the feathered sorts are less so, and are used to some extent in dried bouquets. The plumy sorts are grown abroad for winter decoration, especially under the name of C.
pyramidalis, but to a small extent in America. The crested cockscomb is less used as a summer bedding plant than formerly, but it is still commonly exhibited in pots at small fairs, the object being to produce the largest possible crest on the smallest plant.
For garden use, the seeds are sown indoors in early spring, and the plants set out May 1 to 15. If the roots dry out, the leaves are sure to drop off. The cockscomb is a moisture-loving plant, and may be syringed often, especially for the red-spider, which is its greatest enemy. A fight, rich soil is needed.
a. Spikes crested, monstrous. cristata, Linn. Cockscomb. Fig. 867. Height 9 in. or more: stem very glabrous: leaves petiolate, ovate or somewhat cordate-ovate, acute, glabrous, 2-3 in. long, 1 in. wide: spikes crested, subsessile, often as wide as the plant is high: seeds small, black, shining, lens-shaped. Tropics. Gn. 13, p. 231. R.H. 1894, p. 58. - There are 8 or 9 well-marked colors in either tall or dwarf forms, the chief colors being red, purple, violet, crimson,
Fig. 867. Celosia cristata.
amaranth and yellow. The forms with variegated leaves often have less dense crests. A. japonica, Mart., little known to botanists, is said to be a distinct garden plant with branching, pyramidal habit, each branch bearing a ruffled comb.
aa. Spikes plumy, feathery, or cylindrical.
Linn. Taller than the above: leaves shorter-stalked, narrower, 2-2 1/2 in- long, 4-6 lines wide, linear-lanceolate, acute: spikes 1-4 in. long, erect or drooping, long-peduncled, pyramidal, or cylindrical. India. - This species is considered by Voss (in Vilmorin's Blu-mengartnerei) to be the original one from which the crested forms are derived. He makes 9 botanical forms, to one of which he refers C. cristata. The range of color is even greater in the feathered type than in the crested type. The spikes are very various in form and habit. Various forms are shown in Gn. 6, p. 513; 9, p. 149; 17, p. 331 (all as C. pyramidalis). R.H. 1857, p. 78, and 1890, p. 522 (as C. pyramidalis).
Huttoni, Mart. Height 1-2 ft.: habit bushy, pyramidal: stem sulcate-striate: leaves reddish or crimson, lower ones lanceolate, subsessile: spikes red, cylindrical, oblong, obtuse, 1 1/2 in. long; perianth-segments oblong (not lanceolate, as in C. argentea). Java. - A foliage plant, and less common than the 2 species above.
C. spicata, Hort.=(?). Not the C. spicata, Spreng.; perhaps some form of C. cristata. - C. Thdmpsonii magnified, Hort., is a trade name and apparently without botanical standing.